Hallux Valgus (Bunion)
The main sign of a bunion is the big toe pointing towards the other toes on the same foot, which may force the foot bone attached to it (the first metatarsal) to stick outwards. This can lead to pain from rubbing on the prominent bone as well as joint stiffness and aching. The causes are varied and can be both hereditary and / or influenced by footwear
Hallux Rigidus (Stiff big toe toe)
This is commonly caused by damage to the cartilage of the big toe joint. The whole joint may not be involved and is commonly more around the top of the foot. It can be caused by injury or from pressure from shoes and activity. The pain in the joint may be from prominent bony lumps that can develop as well as general aching in the joint.
Hammer / Claw Toes (Small toe deformities)
Deformities of the lesser toes such as Hammer and Clawing toes are commonly seen and may be associated with other forefoot deformities such as bunions. The toe deformities initially remain flexible and correctable and may respond to non-operative measures such as toe spacers and insoles.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition that causes inflammation in many joints of the body which particularly affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and knees – and tends to occur symmetrically. For example, if your right big toe is swollen and painful, chances are your left big toe will be too. In addition, as well as joint pain and stiffness, symptoms include muscle aches, anaemia (a low blood count leaving you feeling tired), and fever. The stiffness tends to be worse in the morning and after rest.
Metatarsalgia (Pain in the front of your foot)
Forefoot pain can be due to several causes including a Morton's neuroma. Morton's neuroma is a localised nodular thickening of the digital nerve of the toes resulting in compression of the nerve between the metatarsal heads ('knuckles' of the foot). These are most commonly seen between the 3rd/4th toes and cause pain and numbness in the forefoot. If non-operative measures that include insoles/orthotics and local injections fail, surgical management can be considered.
An ingrown toenail develops when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin.
The big toe is often affected, either on one or both sides. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which becomes red, swollen and tender. There can be associated pus that comes from the area if infected and there may also be bleeding seen. Seeking advice early is key to managing these conditions.