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Osteoarthritis, or OA, in the big toe is medically referred to as hallux rigidus. This progressive and degenerative condition is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage at the first metatarsophalangeal, or MTP, joint. As the cartilage in the MTP joint deteriorates, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. This discomfort in the big toe often leads to difficulty in bending the toe, and affects mobility and everyday activities, like walking. Furthermore, OA in the big toe can worsen other foot conditions, such as bunions, corns, calluses, and hammertoes. This may further complicate movement and cause additional discomfort. Treatment options for OA in the big toe start with conservative methods, such as pain management and custom orthotic devices. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be suggested, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s individual needs. Seeking prompt medical attention from a podiatrist is important for diagnosing and managing hallux rigidus effectively, as early intervention can help to alleviate symptoms, improve mobility, and enhance overall quality of life for individuals affected by this condition. If you believe you may have osteoarthritis that is affecting the big toe, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Anthony Ricciardi Jr., DPM of Foot & Ankle Specialists of Nevada. Our Doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Las Vegas, Nevada . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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