To Tackle Toe Wrestling Title: Keep Your Big Toe Moving!

This past week contestants from around the world gathered in Derbyshire, England to show off their skills in an unusual sporting event: toe wrestling. The world toe wrestling championships began in the 1970s and have continued annually ever since. The competition requires not only toe and foot strength to maintain position in the match, it also requires good motion of the big toe joints.

When motion becomes limited or painful in any joint, arthritis, or inflammation of the lining of the joint has likely developed. In the foot, the joint at the base of the big toe, known as the metatarsophalangeal joint, is commonly affected by this condition specifically called hallux limitus. Trauma is the number one trigger in the development of this arthritis, either a single episode such as dropping a heavy object on the toe or repetitive low grade trauma that may occur in sporting events. Underlying structural deformities in the foot may also contribute to joint damage in the big toe. A long or short 1st metatarsal bone as well as an elevated 1st metatarsal may cause increased wear and tear on the joint.

In the earliest stages of 1st metatarsophalangeal arthritis, there may be mild painless stiffness of the joint. At this point, the average toe wrestler may continue without any problems, however as the disease progresses, pain, reduction in motion and bony growth around the joint will increase. Initially, conservative measures such as padding and custom molded orthotics may provide adequate relief and even slow progression of joint deterioration. More severe stages of arthritis can require steroid injections to decrease inflammation. Eventually toe surgery can become a necessity. It is important to discuss your activity level and goals with your podiatrist when it comes time to select the best surgical procedure. Every foot is different and treatment programs must be individualized – a world class toe wrestler’s demands of their foot are going to be different from an individual who enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle!

Please visit for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia