What Is Frozen Toe?

04 Nov What Is Frozen Toe?

About Frozen Toe

Have you ever felt your big toe freeze up? If you can’t move it, you may have frozen toe, turf toe, or stiff big toe. An inability to bend your toe is a painful condition that’s known medically as hallux rigidus. Here are five intriguing facts about stiff big toe:

• It is the most common arthritic foot condition.
• Causes include wear and tear, traumatic injury, or genetic factors.
• People with flat feet or bunions are more likely to develop it.
• Left untreated, it can lead to bone spurs and other complications.
• There is no cure, but your doctor can help you manage the symptoms.

How Do You Develop Frozen Toe?

Like most arthritic disorders, hallux rigidus is a joint condition. The metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint is where your big toe meets your foot. Wear and tear on this joint can cause it to become weak or thin. Extensive use or traumatic injury can cause the ligaments to break completely.

Although it can happen to anyone, it’s most common among people between the ages of 30 and 60. It is the second most common big toe disorder. Bunions (hallux valgus) are the most common.

Do You Have It? Signs and Symptoms

Pain in the big toe is usually the first warning sign. The toe feels painful while you’re walking or doing other ordinary activities. You may also have swelling, redness, and an inability to bend your toe.

If you suspect you have hallux rigidus, see a podiatrist right away. Although there is no cure, treatment can ease the pain and prevent the condition from getting worse.

Treatments for Frozen Toe

Your doctor will conduct a thorough examination to determine if you have a stiff big toe. This will include a physical examination and X-rays. You’ll receive treatment that may include custom orthotics, toe padding, pain relievers, and corticosteroid injections.

Surgery is only necessary if these treatments fail to bring your relief. The most common surgical procedures for hallux rigidus are cheilectomy (shaving the bone spur) and osteotomy, which involves cutting the bone to realign it. Your doctor can discuss these options with you.

At-Home Care

If you want to ease the pain of a stiff big toe at home, try these self-care methods.
• Wear comfortable, supportive shoes. Give your toes plenty of room. Your doctor may prescribe custom orthotics to support and cushion your toes.
• Take over-the-counter pain medications.
• Soak your feet. Foot baths can help you reduce the swelling and “unfreeze” your toe. Try taking contrast soaks. This means dunking your feet first in hot water for 30 seconds and then soaking them in cold water for 30 seconds. This is a good way to relieve inflammation.

Don’t Freeze Up

If you suspect you have a stiff big toe or any other foot condition, contact Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine today. We provide the latest treatment techniques and 3D imaging for custom orthotics.

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