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Hallux Limitus: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Do you have a pesky big toe that's always getting in the way? Is it painful when walking or running, or does it simply feel stiff? If so, you may be suffering from hallux limitus - don't worry; this condition is very treatable. In this blog post, we'll discuss the symptoms, causes and treatments of hallux limitus so that you can get back to living life as pain-free as possible.


Hallux limitus is a condition that affects the joint at the big toe in your foot, where it connects to the first metatarsal bone. The joint, also known as the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, can become stiff or not move enough, leading to an inability to lift your toe properly when walking or running.

Symptoms include pain in the big toe joint, stiffness of the joint, difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, and difficulty bending the toe upwards. The pain can range from mild to severe and may worsen over time.


Causes of hallux limitus include:

  • Repetitive injuries caused by running on your toes, dropping heavy things on your big toe joint, wearing stilettos or shoes that don’t fit, and squatting for long periods of time (So watch out, baseball catchers!)
  • Pronation, which is when the feet roll outward when walking, which places excessive pressure on the big toe
  • Genetic defects in the toe and joint
  •  High arches
  • Osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis that usually just comes with age)


Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage and reduce the pain associated with hallux limitus. These include rest, ice packs, steroid injections, and custom orthotics that will offer support and immobilize the toe to prevent further damage.

Laser therapy is also a great way to reduce pain and inflammation associated with hallux limitus. Laser uses concentrated light energy to stimulate the body’s own healing process to minimize pain, inflammation and promote healing. Most patients feel a 75% reduction in pain after just six laser treatments performed in two weeks.

The anti-inflammatory effects of laser therapy are amplified when combined with a topical anti-inflammatory such as Mod Pod Soothe. Soothe is a pain-relieving stick that contains 1000mg of CBD, arnica, eucalyptus, and lavender oils. This ultra-potent combination will reduce pain for a minimum of 4 hours.

If you have any questions about whether or not you might have hallux limitus, don't hesitate to give us a call at 859-264-1141 or schedule an appointment online with our team of experts. We're always happy to help our patients get back on their feet--literally!