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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Advice sought about Stiff Big Toe (Hallux Rigidus) in active people - runners and other athletes

Thank you for posting about this topic! This is exactly what I have and have been dealing with for several months now. Sadly, I didn't understand the source of the pain and had just tolerated it for several months before finally mentioning it to my chiropractor. She has been working with me for the past couple of months to try and get it under control. I believe the pain originated from a severe stub that has gone unattended.

I just started taping the arch of my foot about two weeks ago, and purchased a golf ball which I roll my foot over to try and dig into the joint as much as possible. It hurts like hell, but am trying to be very dilligent. Every night I massage the area & try to maneuver the toe as much as possible. It has not stiffened at all and is still quite mobile, but it is extremely sore the more active I am.

I had a question regarding my level of activity. I do some type of cardio 3 - 4 times a week at the gym (elliptical, treadmill, etc.), take dance classes, and ride my bike daily to and from work. I notice the pain in my right big toe subsiding when I'm less active, but have not wanted to cut back on my exercise, as I work a fairly sedentary 9 - 5 job. Would you recommend laying off the amount of activity or stepping it up? I don't want to exacerbate the problem any further.

Thanks again so much for your blog!

Gary responds:
It is probably best to only do massage and manipulations that stir the toe up once a week only. Daily is too much. Anything done between should be gentle and restorative in terms of encouraging healing. Stir it up more often than once a week does not allow healing and strengthening.

I would be inclined to reduce any exercise sessions that cause toe pain to just three times per week or to do only exercises that are painless for as long as it takes for the toe to fully heal. Avoid activities that have the foot slamming forwards such as often happens in aerobics classes, martial arts. Running on one's toes, rather than heel to toe may injure the toe joint.

Aid healing with a supplement that supplies gluocasamine and chondroitin like the ones here.

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Clive Challinor said...

Hi Gary,
I've been diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus, which has probably been developing slowly for a number of years. It is now to the point where I can't walk without some discomfort/pain. I've had steroids pumped in and that did very little to help, I was told the joint space is reduced quite a bit and there is a dorsal bunion that limits movement. Before I go down the surgery route, are there any other options that could help me


Gary Moller said...

Clive, copy and paste the following into your browser and enjoy the reading!