I have hunted the internet looking for information about the consequences of losing the big toe, but I have yet to find anything useful. The surgeon at the time told me that it would have minimal impact and would not affect neither my walk or balance.
That is not exactly true. A few months after surgery, I had such severe cramps in my foot that I could hardly walk. It took almost 5 months of physiotherapy for the pain to subside. I had no idea what caused it. This article explains that and other things.
It seems like the pain in my foot was caused by a phenomenon called “clawing” and is the effect of the other toes that “claw” into de ground due to the absence of another toe. That causes the feet muscles and tendons to be arched and not relaxed and that explains the pain I had in my foot.
Right now I have pain on the inside of my upper leg and inside my knees. This seems to be caused also by the loss of the big toe. The article explains that foot loses a tripod balance where previously this tripod would be toe, heel and outer side of the foot. With the loss of the toe, the foot tends to curve upwards as to pronate more, increasing the inner arch an causing torsion of the leg and hip which explains the constant pain in that region.
I am posting this in June and I have felt this pain since October last year. At times it is unbearable, making it almost impossible to walk up a hill, while other days it subsides and you forget it’s there until it comes back like an annoying itch. Yesterday I was in a a dentists chair for a couple of hours and the pain in my leg could be felt and was very uncomfortable. It also inhibits me from doing a lot of mundane things, but also makes it difficult to carry my little toddler.
I found this article by the “Gait Guys” and they seem to know their stuff.
Here is a link to one of 2 articles they wrote about this subject. A true gem since I have not found anything as valuable as this in the year and a half I have been browsing.
Hopefully one day o will also meet someone in a similar situation and share these experiences with them.