‘Hallux’ is the technical term for the big toe. The main role of the hallux is to help the body push off and forward when you are walking. It is a common area of the foot to develop pain and discomfort. Pain can be experienced in the big joint at the base of the toe, in the smaller joint near the top of the toe, in the skin surrounding the toe and also in the toenail. The Podiatrists at Scarborough Podiatry are trained and experienced in the assessment and treatment of hallux concerns.
Pain in the big joint at the base of the big toe can be caused by poor-alignment of the joint due to a bunion, the development of bony spurs that prevent the joint from working properly, irritation from poor-fitting footwear and inflammation of the structures surrounding the joint, e.g. joint capsule, bursa, tendons and muscles. Treatment for this may include joint mobilisations, orthotics and footwear education.
Pain in the smaller joint of the big toe is usually as a result of increased pressure on the joint and abnormal movement of the joint. Problems that affect the big joint at the base of the toe can cause the little joint in the toe to work harder than usual and can eventually result in pain. The Podiatrist may suggest joint mobilisations, orthotic therapy and/or footwear modifications and fitting to help with the treatment of the pain.
Pain in the skin surrounding the toe can be as a result of poor joint movement and increased pressure and friction on the skin, leading to hard skin. Hard skin on the edges of the big or small joint is an indicator that the hallux is not functioning properly. The podiatrists at Scarborough Podiatry are experienced in the removal of this skin and will educate you on how to prevent the hard skin from returning.
Pain in the toenails can be due to the shape, how they have been cut, build-up underneath and down the side of the nails and the thickness of the nails. Toenails that are curvy tend to be more inclined to grow into the side of the toe, causing an ingrown toenail. Proper cutting techniques can be shown to you by your Podiatrist to help prevent ingrown toenails. Pressure from thickened or poorly cut nails can cause pain underneath or at the sides of the nail. It is not uncommon for the podiatrist to discover the pain surrounding a big toenail is from a corn or callus underneath or down the side of the nail. The Podiatrists at Scarborough Podiatry can also reduce the thickness and give you information about how to better manage the nails.
If you have any big toe problems and would like us to help, please give us a call at Scarborough Podiatry.