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toe/foot problem
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By Jacob Jones
From oklazona
Jun 4, 2012
All,

The joint where my big toe "connects" to my foot is becoming a problem. It has grown progressively worse over the past couple of months and is to the point where I have a hitch in my step and it hurts to put shoes on. No prior injuries or anything.

The joint is slightly swollen and sensitive to the touch. I appear to have full range of motion, but it does hurt to curl down my toe all the way.

Diagnosis? Remedy?

All I have done so far is quit wearing sandals, as the pressure of straps right on top of the joint seems to irritate it.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jun 4, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
See a podiatrist. Could be gout, sesamoiditis, fractured sesamoid, osteo arthritis, etc... Note that X-rays are often inconclusive when it comes to sesamoid issues, so you may need to lobby for an MRI.

Treatment will likely come down to custom orthotics combined with managing your use of the joint, but in some cases surgery, walking boot or other treatments may be recommended.

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By Matt Hoffmann
From Squamish
Jun 4, 2012
 Matt Hoffmann - Matt on 3AM crack
Second vote for going to see a podiatrist right away. Foot problems suck and are often ignored for too long resulting in serious problems instead of simple to fix problems.

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jun 4, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Gotta go with Mono.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jun 4, 2012
This is a possibilty, also:

footankleinstitute.com/hallux-...

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By JSH
Administrator
Jun 4, 2012
JSH @ home  photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker
Could be a lot of things, but -- get on it. Feet are so hard to heal.

Sesamoid problems usually result in flexion (pulling toes backwards) pain. Could be stress fracture, infection, gout ...

I'd opt for a sports orthopedist or sports MD over a podiatrist (who are not MDs), having had a lot of experience with both ....

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Jun 4, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron photo by TooTallT...
I have sesamoiditis, which has slightly different symptoms. The podatrists I saw were able to rule out a fracture, but when it came to treatment I had more luck with a pedorthist (Bob Egeland who works out of Neptune in Boulder). At any rate don't wait to see someone like I did.

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By Jacob Jones
From oklazona
Jun 4, 2012
Roger.

Thanks for everyone's quick response.

I just booked an appointment with the podiatrist in my doctor's internal medicine group. See what he says and go from there.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Jun 4, 2012
Discussions about finger, elbow, and shoulder injuries seem to occupy the most space on climbing websites, and it is easy to forget that the feet are subjected to a fair amount of stress, as well. I would bet that if you polled a lot of climbers - and made sure to include climbers who have been at it a long time - many would report chronically sore feet, pain in their toes, etc. I've been climbing for 41 years and for 10 years I wore Ninjas for almost all of the climbing I did; I even did relatively long, technical, footwork-intensive routes, e.g., Levitation 29, wearing my Ninjas. I'm paying the price for that now. Take care of your feet.

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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Jun 4, 2012
Me and Spearhead
I've dealt w/ a toe problem that sounds the same as what you've got. I've had a lot of different folks look at it over the years but have never come up w/ a conclusive diagnosis.

Much like Mono said, it may come down to managing the problem. I'm pretty sure that my toe issue stems from the fact that my feet are slightly different sizes and I've sized my climbing shoes to fit the smaller foot for years.
Soft tissue work (using a golf ball to massage the bottom of the foot) and joint manipulation have helped but really the biggest relief has come from sizing my climbing kicks AND approach shoes a half size larger.

Good luck w/ the problem, I hope you find a definitive answer/solution (if you do, it would be great if you post a follow up) because I still don't have an answer after 7yrs and the toe doesn't like doing the long summer days.

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By Sorden
From inside the Bubble, Colorado
Jun 4, 2012
~Here to party~
Arthritis in the big toe joint is quite common. You might look into cortisone injections; not always a permanent remedy but a trip to a podiatrist is probably warranted. Best of luck Jake.

Edit to add: doesn't sound like gout to me but I'm sure they'll test your uric acid levels to be safe.

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By lazar
Jun 19, 2012
Sounds serious,better take action before you can't walk or end up with a surgery.

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By Jacob Jones
From oklazona
Jun 20, 2012
UPDATE:

Saw the doc today. Quickly diagnosed my problem as arthritis. Podiatrist said he normally takes a very conservative approach but, in my case, wants to be really aggressive about it.

Bottom line is that 1) I caught it early and 2) It is only going to get worse.

So, I am going to have it "scoped" in July. Minor incision, they go in and clean up the joint. Should be back to climbing is 4-6 weeks. Should give me back some of what I lost. Going forward, I'll go easy on the tiny/aggressive shoes.

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