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Arthritis – Great Toe

Hallux rigidus is the medical name for arthritis that occurs at the base of the big toe. The joint at the base of the big toe is called the first metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP joint. This is the junction of the long bone of the forefoot and the small bone of the big toe. Because of the mechanics of our feet, this joint is especially prone to developing arthritis. In fact, hallux rigidus, or big toe arthritis, is the most common site of arthritis in the foot.


The most common symptom and the most common reason to seek medical attention for this problem is pain around the base of the big toe. This pain is accentuated with activity, especially running or jumping. Wearing firm-soled shoes that prevent motion at the base of the big toe will help relieve symptoms. Other common symptoms include swelling at the base of the big toe, a lump next to this joint due to bone spur formation, and calluses from the abnormal shape of the toe.

The common signs people with hallux rigidus notice include:

  •   Pain at the base of the big toe
  •   Swelling of the toe
  •   Difficulty with activities including running, waling up hills