Great Toe Pain

Hallux Limitus

This problem means toe joint stiffness and decreased movement due to degenerative arthritis at the lower joint of the big toe. It can be caused by a single instance or repeated instances i.e. from a kick or blow. It can also be present due to poor foot posture i.e. over-pronation.

Treatment can include orthotic management or a surgical procedure depending on the severity of the injury.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus means no range of motion at the base of the big toe joint. Causes can include osteoarthritis, trauma, splitting osteochondritis of the 1st metatarsal head or gout.

Conservative treatment includes cortisone injections (which are considered a short term treatment) and footwear that provides a “rocker sole” for pain free walking. Surgical intervention may be considered.

Hallux Valgus

Hallux Valgus, often referred to as a “bunion” is a deformity of the big toe joint. The toe deviates towards the outside aspect of the foot. Bunions are usually hereditary; they are very common in people with a flexible foot type and more common in women than men.


Sesamoiditis is inflammation and pain of the sesamoid bones which are located just behind the big toes. They act as a fulcrum (pulley) for the tendons which bend the big toe downwards.

Sometimes the sesamoid bones can fracture and be difficult to pick up on an x-ray. If this is the case a bone scan would be a better alternative.