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. Hallux rigidus is a form of degenerative arthritis. Because Hallux Rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe’s motion decreases as time goes on.
Early signs and symptoms include:
- 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
Treatment: Non-Surgical Approaches
If your condition is caught early enough, it is more likely to respond to less aggressive treatment. In many cases, early treatment may prevent or postpone the need for surgery in the future. For that reason, it is important to see your podiatric surgeon when you first begin to notice symptoms.
Treatment for mild or moderate cases of hallux rigidus may include one or more of these strategies:
- Shoe modifications. Shoes that have a large toe box should be worn because they put less pressure on the toe. Stiff or rocker bottom soles may also be recommended.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices will consider all deformities within the foot and aim to decrease medial pressure on the 1st MPJ. Decreasing range of motion in this area is very effective at reducing joint pain.