What is Big Toe Arthritis and What can I do About It? Everything You Need to Know About Hallux Rigidus

Mar 18, 2022

What is hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus actually means “stiff big toe”—the primary symptom of this joint disorder at the base of the big toe. Also known as big toe arthritis, hallux rigidus is a type of degenerative arthritis.

Anyone who suffers from big toe arthritis (hallux rigidus) knows what a pain it can be. I know “hallux rigidus!” sounds like a witch’s spell, but this is no laughing matter for patient’s who suffer from this common ailment.

Who can get hallux rigidus?

Big toe arthritis can happen to anyone who is on their feet often or does a lot of walking and running. It is a painful condition that has no single cause but develops over time because of wear and tear. The toe pain makes it difficult to walk or even stand for any length of time. The disorder most commonly affects people ages 30 to 60 but can also occur in teens and adults of any age.

What causes hallux rigidus?

As mentioned above, for most people, there is no one clear cause. Because the toe experiences a lot of stress when walking or running, this is likely the main factor. Some other causes of big toe arthritis include:

  • Intense activity and overuse
  • Injury to the toe (stubs and sprains)
  • Joint inflammation
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Genetics

What are the symptoms of hallux rigidus?

  • Pain or stiffness
  • Swelling near the joint
  • Constant pain in the toe joint
  • Pain during activity (running or impact sports)
  • Inability to bend toe up or down
  • Tingling in the toe joint

How do you treat hallux rigidus?

Luckily, we know how to treat this condition whether you are an athlete or not. Typically with hallux rigidus, we go to the main source and diagnose the cause of the problem. 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:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Taping the big toe
  • Custom orthotics
  • New, wider shoes
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery

There’s no magic elixir for this one and it takes time to heal. Before you know it though, your big toe arthritis will be feeling better and you’ll be on your way to getting your life back. The main thing is we know what we’re doing. We’re here to keep you on your toes!

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In our guide, you’ll discover incredibly useful heel pain prevention tips including:

  • Stretches
  • Footwear
  • Effectiveness of Cross-Training
  • The Potential of Orthotics

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