Hallux Rigidus/Limitus

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, and with time it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. It is actually a form of degenerative arthritis and the toe will progressively decrease its range of motion as time goes on. In its earlier stage, motion of the big toe is only somewhat limited—at that point, the condition is called “hallux limitus.” But as the problem advances, the toe’s range of motion gradually decreases until it becomes  “rigidus”— where the big toe becomes stiff.

Hallux Rigidus/Limitus

Hallux Rigidus/Limitus Symptoms

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe during use (walking, standing, bending, etc.)
  • Pain and stiffness aggravated by cold, damp weather
  • Difficulty with certain activities (running, squatting)
  • Swelling and inflammation around the joint
  • Pain, even during rest
  • Difficulty wearing shoes because bone spurs (overgrowths) develop. Wearing high-heeled shoes can be particularly difficult.
  • Dull pain in the hip, knee, or lower back due to changes in the way you walk
  • Limping, in severe cases

Main contributing factors

  • Congenital
  • Abnormal biomechanical function
  • Trauma
  • Inflammation disease

Treatment for Hallux Rigidus/Limitus

  • Shoe modifications – rocker soles and large toeboxes.
  • Custom orthotic devices – may improve function
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (Nurofen etc)
  • Possible surgery to fuse the joint or removed excess bone.
Podiatrist sizing custom made orthotic

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