Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe (first metatarsophalangeal joint). It causes pain and stiffness in the joint, and with time it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. ‘Hallux” refers to the big toe, while “rigidus” indicates that the toe is rigid and stiffness. Because hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe’s motion decreases as time goes on. Hallux rigidus encompasses mild to severe degenerative arthritis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) joint of the foot. Symptoms can range from mild to disabling.
Signs and symptoms of Hallux Rigidus:
Stiffness in the big toe and an inability to bend it upward (dorsi-flexion). It may affect one or both feet.
A bone spur, or overgrowth, may develop on the top of the big toe joint preventing the toe from bending when walking.
Pain in the joint as you push-off on the toes when you walk.
Swelling and inflammation around the joint.
Avoiding the pain on the big toe changes the walking mechanics, which can lead to pain in the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
Causes of Hallux Rigidus:
Faulty function (biomechanics) and structural abnormalities of the foot.
Fallen arches or excessive pronation of the ankles.
Hereditary – runs in the family and is a result of inheriting a foot type.
Overuse injury/ activities or jobs that increase the stress on the big toe.
Inflammatory diseases such as matoid arthritis or gout.
Non-Surgical Treatment of Hallux Rigidus:
Medications – oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Physical therapy- Ultrasound therapy.
Your podiatrist can prescribe you an orthotic device.