Big Toe Arthritis: the result of wear and tear. The big toe is designed to take the majority of stress as the forefoot loads as we propel ourselves forward with each step (See Propulsion Video Clip). When the main arch of the foot flattens, the big toe function becomes limited by abnormal ligament restraint. The toe cannot rise upwards forcing the joint into a position it cannot tolerate. Over time, the joint cartilage begins to thin and eventually disappear. The cartilage then develops cracks or fissures, loses its lubrication, and becomes swollen and painful. Someone with this foot problem will describe a deep achy to sharp pain with movement of the big toe. Typically there is minimal to zero pain when there is no weight on the big toe, i.e., when at rest.
The right custom foot orthotic will address your foot pain by restoring optimal arch height and function, effectively releasing the big toe, allowing it to unlock and function properly. Abnormal joint stresses can now begin to reverse, allowing the affected tissues to heal and normal joint function to be restored.