Pain in big toe and ball of foot

Hi all, just wondering what your thoughts are on this. About a year ago I started getting a tender pain on the side of the ball of the foot in both feet. I had other issues at the time and was doing a lot of hiking, so didn't really give it much thought. However, since my other issues have cleared up this has got worse. In July last year I went to a podiatrist who diagnosed hallux limitus/rigidus, gave me some temporary inserts to correct a mild pronation (I had been wearing arch supports before but he said these wouldn't correct the problem in the forefoot) and some exercises to strengthen the muscle supporting the big toe, which he said was weak.

I saw no improvement from this, and after a few more sessions sought another opinion. Same diagnosis this time, but different inserts and no exercises recommended, only some mobility work. Again, no real improvement, though both toe joints are much less stiff than they previously were. I've been referred for an x-ray and this has ruled out any bone/joint abnormalities, so we're left assuming it's actually a soft tissue problem.

However, the problem seems to be getting worse recently. The left big toe is very sore in the mornings, as is the metatarsal area, and I can't walk on it until it's warmed up a bit. I get shooting pains down the side of the big toe when pushing off from it. I'm wondering if this is a sesamoid thing, which both podiatrists I've seen have rather dismissed upon examination, but that seems to be where the tenderness eminates from. Any thoughts? Anyone had anything similar?

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