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Phone: 978-794-8406
Mitchell Wachtel D.P.M.

Why Does My Big Toe Feel Stiff When I Run?

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Running is a great form of exercise – it can be done anywhere, at any time and anyone can do it! There is a lot of stress on your feet and ankles though while you run and we often encounter patients coming in with various complaints. Just the other day we had someone complain of pain and stiffness in their big toe specifically while they were running.   These symptoms are usually due to a condition called hallux limitus, which affects the joint of the big toe. You may feel as though you can't bend your big toe joint and there is often swelling. With this problem you may or may not see a bunion or bony growth.

If you have stiffness in your big toe joint, we encourage you to contact our podiatric office. The first thing that we will do is an X-ray of the foot and ankle area.  This provides a lot of information such as the presence of arthritis at the joint site. The most conservative way of treating this problem, especially in runners, is to provide a cortisone shot to decrease the pain and swelling of the area. We have found a great amount of effectiveness with the use of custom orthotics. These are inserts customized for your feet, which will change the position of the foot in the shoe and provide a decrease in pressure on the affected joint.

If you have bunions they can help prevent the bunion from getting larger.  Prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may also be necessary. Lastly there are devices that can be prescribed that will increase the range of motion of the toe.   The last option we can provide is surgery, which may involve an implant or just cleaning the surface of the bone to provide a greater range of motion in the toe joint.  

Remember - pain in your big toe joint is not normal and should be assessed by a podiatrist for proper treatment. Don’t wait to contact Mitchell J. Wachtel DPM for diagnosis and treatment. We have several locations around Massachusetts to serve you including North Andover, Lowell, and Haverhill. Call us at (978) 794-8406 for an appointment.

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