Hallux Rigidus is a stiff big toe joint it is a commonly occurring condition of degenerative arthritis where the cartilage on the surface of the bone erodes affecting the  joint, This condition results over time from constant wear and stress or from an injury to the joint.  The result of the condition is pain, swelling, and/or restriction of movement, eventually the patient will stop bending the joint and as a result will transfer weight to the other foot, or will modify their gait on that foot to compensate. Women will probably have to stop wearing shoes with high heels, as they cannot bend the first toe joint to fit them on.
In most cases, there is no definite cause of this condition.  Because of the tremendous stress put on this small joint over time eventually the joint simply begins to wear out.  It can affect fairly young people, even as young as teenagers. 
Hallux rigidus can also result from an injury or as a complication of another medical condition, such as gout or infection.  It can also result from mechanical or anatomical problems in the foot and ankle, excessive pronation of the foot , as well as toe deformities, which increase the stress on the joint.
Two main problems result from Hallux rigidus pain and stiffness due to the loss of motion. Walking is painful and difficult, since the big toe joint cannot move enough to allow the foot to function normally when walking. 
Treatment for Hallux Rigidus involves trying to get weight of this joint, this may be achieved via the use of custom made orthotics, your Podiatrist can assess your gait and make recommendations for this problem. In extreme cases a rocker bottom shoe may be required or even surgery. If you suffer from a sore joint seek advice from your Podiatrist before the damage to the joint is too severe.



  Hallux Rigidus  



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Page last updated 14 October, 2007