Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Does My Big Toe Joint Hurt

As  I walked into Gulfcoast Foot and Ankle I was greeted by the familiar faces behind the desk.  I was not walking in as an employee that day, but for the first time as a patient.  For about 5 months now my big toe joint has hurt me pretty badly.  Why would I wait so long to see a podiatrist….especially when I work for one!?  Well I guess the main reason is sheer stupidity.  But in all honesty I just figured the pain would go away.  Well it did not so there I sat in the waiting room to see Dr. Gordon.  He was extremely surprised to see me thinking I stopped by to discuss marketing strategies or to go over the Student Scholar Athlete Awards we need to present….no Dr. G Im here as a patient.  I was placed in a chair and asked a few questions and he decided the best thing to do was some simple x-rays to see what was going on in that toe joint.  A lovely lady appeared in the room and whisked me away to the x-ray machine.  After a few minutes I was back in the chair studying my bones with Dr. Gordon.  Hallux Limitus, Dr. Gordon told me with no look of question or doubt in his face.  

Hallux Rigidus/Limitus involves the 1st metatarso-phalangeal joint.  This joint is located at the base of the big toe.  Hallux Rigidus/Limitus causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, and with time it becomes increasingly harder to bend the toe.  This is a progressive condition during which the toe's motion decreases as time goes on.  In the early stages, motion of the big toe is only limited, and at this point, the disorder is called Hallux Limitus.  As the problem advances, the big toe's motion gradually decreases until it becomes rigid or frozen.  At this point, the disorder is referred to as Hallux Rigidus.  As motion becomes progressively limited, pain increases, especially when the big toe is extended, or pushed up. 
Great…what now… was the only thing I could think.  Im trying to start running and this really was putting a damper on things!!  Dr. Gordon decided to cast me for orthotics.  My feet are flat I had this Hallux Limitus thing going on so it seemed like the best thing to do.  He had me lay on my back and lay on my stomach and took measurements of my feet.  Then he proceeded to put strips of wet plaster on my foot to make a mold.  He made quick work of the plaster and before I knew it he was taking these white molds off my feet that sort of resembled a thin version of a wooden shoe from Holland that looked just like my foot!  So off to the lab went my feet molds.
This morning a received the call that my orthotics were in!  I was so excited to see what they would feel like.  I packed up my sneakers and socks and headed to the office.  This was a special trip because I was going to the office today as both an employee AND a patient.  Dr. Gordon put the orthotics in my shoes and told me to give them a try.  My feet felt AMAZING!!!  Even after 1 minute of walking in them my feet felt so good.  The pain in my toe isn’t gone yet but Im sure it will take more than 2 minutes.  I was almost sad that I was only allowed to wear them for a couple of hours today.  But…Doctors orders!  I will let you know next week the progress that I am having since I will be wearing them a lot more then.

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