Foot and Ankle Doctor Blog Space

Toe Injuries Are Not Just For High Athlete Performers

Athletes involved with high impact sports will often suffer from toe injuries. Sports fans will remember when Pierre Garcon and Taylor Martinez both suffered from a plantar plate tear. Although a lot of us are not professional athletes we too can suffer from plantar plate tears.

The plantar plate is a ligament located on the bottom of the toes. It is responsible for cushioning the ball of the foot when walking and running and prevents hyperextension of the toes. With repeated overuse the ligament can stretch and tear and lead to a predislocation syndrome also known as a crossover toe deformity or a floating toe syndrome. Plantar plate tears most commonly affect the second toe.

Symptoms of a plantar plate tear:

  • Persistent pain at the ball of the foot

  • A toe that is changing position – lifting up or crossing over

  • Swelling

Plantar plate tears can be difficult to diagnose. Common misdiagnoses include a neuroma, tuff toe or a stress fracture. If you were given one of these diagnoses and you are unresponsive to treatment, ask your doctor about the possibility of a plantar plate tear.

At Foot& Ankle Doctors, Inc we will first offer conservative treatment options:

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Accommodative padding to alleviate pressure from the ball of the foot

  • Plantarflexion strapping of the digit to hold it in place

  • Orthotics and stiff soled shoe or rocker-bottom shoes may be recommended

If conservative treatments fail, surgery may be required to repair the ligament.


Dr. Dardashti

Stiff Painful Big Toe – Hallux Limitus

A stiff big toe that is painful to move is a sign of degenerative arthritis and is known as hallux limitus. It can be a disabling condition preventing patients from walking normally and performing their daily activities. Hallux limitus is a progressive condition that gets worse overtime and can eventually lead to a “rigid” toe that patients describe as a “frozen big toe.”

Hallux limitus can be caused by:

 Abnormal foot structure or biomechanics

 Overuse or wear and tear of the joint

 Trauma

 Inflammatory diseases – ex. Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout

Symptoms and treatment of hallux limitus vary depending on the stage of the condition. Early stage symptoms include pain and stiffness when walking, standing for extended periods of time or squatting. Later stages present with swelling of the big toe, difficulty wearing shoes, formation of a bump on top of the toe as well as stiffness.

Treatment options include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, custom orthotics, shoe modifications and corticosteroid injections. In some cases surgery may be an option to reduce pain. Surgical options include:

 Cleaning the joint and removing pieces of bone that limit motion

 Fusing the big toe to prevent further degeneration of the joint

 Replacing the joint of the big toe with an implant

If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your big toe come see our physicians at the Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc.

Dr. Nejad

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