Hi Metatarsus and Sue,
I had a foot MRI last week on the referral of my orthopod.Apparently part of the motion limitation may be due to the soft tissue tendons-ligaments-muscles on the top of the big toe getting hung up on osteophytic (extra boney) growth on top of the toe near but not on the joint. He also believes he can learn how much cartilage is left from this image; thus enabling a better prediction of the success of the surgery.
Interesting you should be a hiker. I never noticed any serious pain running until a back packing trip on the AT walking rapidly with big strides.(I have since learned to take shorter strides, walk a little more slowly and pack ultralight.)
The only reason I stopped running in March was because the pain, which was quite bareable,began changing to include the ball of the foot down from the big toe and top of the foot down from the toe. My concern was further damaging the joint by running.
I am 58.I see the orthopod next week.Will post latest advice I receive.
Thanks for all your information Metatarsus and Sue.