Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hallux Rigidus: So Many Questions

It has been two weeks since I was diagnosed with hallux rigidus in my right big toe. At the time, my focus was on whether I could still run. I now realize my focus should be much broader than that.

I have a follow-up appointment with my podiatrist in two days and I have so many questions about what this diagnosis means on a broader scale.

How Have My Toes Felt Overall? 

Dr. Gordon will want to know how my toes have felt over the last two weeks:
  • The cortisone injection has definitely helped with the pain
  • The dancers pad helped relieve pressure
  • I'm overly aware of my toes now - they are starting to feel almost claustrophobic in both shoes and socks
  • I frequently want to stretch them and try to separate them from each other
  • I suspect hallux ridigus is developing in my left big toe as well - it has limited mobility and a visible callus on top

How Did My Toes Feel When I Ran? 

He will also want to know how they felt when I ran:
  • I had an awareness of my big toe - not pain - just sensations that suggested I needed extra protection for it
  • My 2nd toe felt irritated...hot? inflamed? bruised? I'm not sure how to describe it, but it seems to be taking the brunt of my subconscious adjustments
  • My left foot went numb, probably neuromas flaring

Activity Adjustments?

I have questions about whether there are things I should change:
  • Is it okay to walk around barefoot, or should my toes be more protected?
  • What adjustments do I need to make for yoga, which can put a lot of pressure on toes?
  • What adjustments do I need to make for strength training exercises like lunges and planks?
  • Is it okay to use my standing desk at work or should I not be on my feet so much?

Recommended Self Care?

I'm wondering about what I can do to support my toe and keep the condition from progressing:
  • Are there toe/foot exercises or stretches that are recommended? Or that should be avoided?
  • Does icing help? How often/when?
  • Should I consider taking Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM?

"Regular" Shoes

I will report that I have taken significant steps towards more appropriate footwear:
  • I'm getting rid of about three dozen pairs of shoes - high heels, tight toe boxes, many that I can't even actually squeeze my toes into any longer. 
    • (yes, this was as hard as you would think it would be...so many pretty shoes...impractical, but pretty)
  • I've found several pairs of wide toe box, rocker bottom, supportive shoes by Alegria and Naot

Running Shoes

I've been running in Saucony Guides in size 6 wide, but I don't think they are quite the right match for me:
  • I now know that my foot is a size 4.5, not a size 5 like I've thought for years, so 6 may be too big
  • As I worked through shoes for my neuromas, I went from a 5M to a 5.5M to a 6M to a 6W...I'm going to try 5.5W out for a bit.
  • I've tried on Altras and love the extra toe space, but I'm unsure about the zero drop (the Guides are 8 mm drop)
  • Does Dr. Gordon have any recommendations for running shoes?


While I've been using SuperFeet green, I recognize that it is probably time to spring for custom orthotics.
  • Unfortunately my insurance does not cover them
  • What adjustments would be included?
    • Turf toe plate? Something else?
    • Dancers pads?
    • Anything that will help my neuromas?

Wish me luck...I'll let you know what I learn & what changes I'll be making next! (click here to read the answers from my appointment)


  1. If you stay with the Altras, make sure you take them in small doses, until you get used to the 0 drop. Otherwise, you could overstress your Achilles and calves.

  2. That is indeed my concern. I used to run in zero drop shoes a few years ago (Merrell pace glove) and I'm not sure I want to go back through that adjustment process. Thanks for the advice.

  3. So many questions! I hope you get some answers this week!

  4. Kim, good luck today! Sending you positive foot and toe vibes! Well, and general good vibes!

    1. Thanks Gina! I'm in the waiting room right now :)