Arthritis of the big toe joint is condition where the cartilage of the big toe joint becomes eroded, leading to limitation of motion and eventually rigidity.  Medically this is termed hallux limitus (for limited arthritis) and Hallux rigidus (for severe arthritis).  The big toe joint becomes painful, enlarged and inflamed.

             

Patients with arthritis of the big toe joint have varying degrees of symptoms depending on the extent of the arthritis.  In general, patients have a painful big toe joint that hurts with activity (such as walking and running).  The pain may be deep and sharp to superficial and achy.  Movement of the big toe joint can result in a grinding sensation (medically called crepitus).  The top of the joint can become enlarged, and this is often referred to as dorsal bunion.  Irritation from shoe gear can cause redness and swelling.  Motion of the joint becomes limited as time progresses, leading to very limited ability to flex the toe.