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Hallux Rigidus

Ignorance is bliss? 18 months of reinjury, slow and painful progress, and over-dramatic stubbed toes don’t feel much like bliss. I finally decided to see a podiatrist about my newly reinjured big toe. The good news, depending on how you look at it, I’m going to live. The bad news, my toe may not.

My first metatarsals are too long which predisposes me to stubbed toes. To make matters worse, my right leg is half a centimeter longer than my left. In summary, the big toe on my right foot is screwed.

The long metatarsal jams the joint, and stubbing my toe doesn’t help. The first metatarsal is also slightly elevated which also predisposes me to bone spurs or osteophytes. I’m starting to build osteophytes around the joint edge and the joint is flattening out. I’m pre-arthritic and at risk for Hallux Rigidus.


Degenerative arthritis and stiffness due to bone spurs that affects the MTP joint at the base of the hallux (big toe) is called Hallux rigidus or stiff big toe. Although the condition is a degenerative condition, it can occur in patients who are relatively young particularly active sports people who have at some time suffered trauma to the joint (turf toe). A notable example is NBA star Shaquille O’Neal who returned to basketball after surgery. – Wikipedia

I don’t need surgery yet, and if we all treat my feet real nice we may be able to keep the toe right where it belongs. The podiatrist gave me a cortizone shot and a prescription for Celebrex. I was fitted for orthotics and will be wearing my hard-sole strong-toe Timberland boots in the meantime.


Celecoxib is used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints), rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints)…

I’m as unhappy as you can imagine a barefoot runner would be having been asked to put more support into shoes that I don’t enjoy wearing in the first place. I’ve been promised that some orthotics are too stiff – these will be great. Also interesting, I have high arches, which usually doesn’t warrant a need for orthotics, but in this case also predisposes me to Hallux Rigidus. On the bright side, no surgery needed, yet, and doc gave me the go-ahead on moving my toe, biking, lifting and swimming as soon as today.

Please, when can I start running again?

3 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    So what has happened a year later? I just went to the doctor today and this is what she said I had. I’m just trying to figure out how to go about running again–half of me wants to be conservative, and the other half just wants to run until I need the surgery and then be done with it.

    • Unfortunately, I’m still in process, currently avoiding anything that aggrevates it. I test it gently, but I’ve been doing this for some years, am regularly dissapointed, and may feel similarly to you about surgery.

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Site by Geoffrey Hale