Though I have not received an official diagnosis yet, I am fairly certain I have hallux rigidus. The disorder affects the joint located at the base of the toe and, over time, causes the joint to stiffen, making it increasingly difficult to bend. It may not seem like a big deal, but my stiff toe altered my gait. To take the pressure off my left toe, I unconsciously allow my left foot to supinate and roll outwards. This in turn puts tremendous pressure on the right side of my hip, which led to the injury I mentioned above.
Apparently, hallux rigidus is a progressive condition that does not respond much to conservative treatment methods. Regardless, I am going to see a specialist tomorrow to determine if anything other than surgery might remedy the disorder. I am all for regaining full mobility in my foot, but I am not enthusiastic about the idea of going under the knife, not even for something minor like this.
But in the end, it's not minor at all. In fact, it's rather amazing how something so seemingly trivial can so negatively affect the rest of the body. I think that speaks volumes for systems in general. The malfunctioning of one small, apparently insignificant part can wreak havoc on the system as whole, especially over time.
Now imagine how a system might be affected by many small parts malfunctioning simultaneously, or many small parts and a few larger parts going on the fritz at approximately the same time. After a while I assume the system would become overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Something to think about.