Free Your Toes! Let’s Talk About Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe)

by | Mar 5, 2024

Hallux rigidus is a common foot condition characterized by stiffness and limited motion in the big toe joint, impacting millions of people worldwide. This ailment, often associated with arthritis or overuse, can significantly affect mobility and quality of life. Let’s talk about it.

What is hallux rigidus?
The big toe joint, also known as the metatarsophalangeal joint, plays a crucial role in supporting body weight and facilitating propulsion during walking and running. In hallux rigidus, this joint becomes stiff and less flexible, leading to difficulty in bending the toe and performing activities that require toe mobility.

Fun fact: Hallux rigidus is the latin term for stiff big toe.

What are some causes and risk factors?

  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can affect the big toe joint over time, leading to cartilage degeneration and stiffness.
  • Overuse or Trauma: Repetitive stress on the toe joint or a previous injury to the toe can contribute to the development of hallux rigidus.
  • Genetics: Family history may predispose individuals to develop conditions like arthritis, increasing the likelihood of hallux rigidus.

What are the symptoms of hallux rigidus?

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe joint, especially during movement or weight-bearing activities.
  • Swelling and inflammation around the affected joint.
  • Limited mobility: Difficulty bending the toe upward or downward.

What are the treatment options?
Treating the cause is our favorite way to help alleviate this condition and design a treatment plan that works for you. Here are a few common treatments:
Taping the big toe
Custom orthotics
New, wider shoes
Steroid injections

Now what?
There’s no magic elixir for this one, and it takes time to heal. With treatment, your big toe arthritis should start to feel better over time.
If you suspect you may have hallux rigidus or are experiencing symptoms, contact us today to make an appointment for an evaluation.

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