Hallux Rigidus


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Hallux Rigidus

About the treatment

Hallux Rigidus

What is hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus is a degenerative condition affecting the joint at the base of the big toe, medically known as the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. It's characterized by stiffness, limited motion, and pain in the big toe joint. The condition typically develops due to wear and tear or arthritis in the joint, causing the cartilage to degenerate and resulting in bone-on-bone contact, which can lead to pain, swelling, and difficulty with movement.

How to know I have a hallux rigidus?

Several symptoms can indicate the presence of hallux rigidus. If you experience any of the following signs, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional, usually a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist, for an accurate diagnosis:

  1. Pain and stiffness in the big toe joint: You might feel discomfort or pain, particularly when walking, standing, or bending the toe.
  2. Limited range of motion: Difficulty bending the big toe upward or downward, which can affect walking or performing activities that involve toe movement.
  3. Swelling and inflammation: The affected joint may appear swollen, red, or inflamed.
  4. Difficulty wearing certain shoes: Shoes that put pressure on the big toe joint may cause increased pain or discomfort.
  5. Bone spurs: Over time, the condition might lead to the formation of bone spurs around the joint, which can sometimes be felt as hard bumps.

What causes hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus often develops due to various factors contributing to the deterioration of the cartilage within the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the big toe. Some common causes and contributing factors include:

  1. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear type of arthritis, is a primary cause. Over time, the cartilage covering the ends of bones in the joint wears away, leading to friction, stiffness, and eventually bone-on-bone contact.
  2. Genetics: Some individuals might have a genetic predisposition to developing conditions that affect joint health, including hallux rigidus.
  3. Foot injuries or trauma: Past injuries or trauma to the big toe joint, such as fractures or stubbing the toe severely, can increase the likelihood of developing hallux rigidus later in life.
  4. Structural abnormalities: Certain foot structures or abnormalities, such as a longer first metatarsal bone or a deformity like bunions, might predispose someone to an increased risk of developing hallux rigidus.
  5. Overuse or excessive stress: Engaging in activities that repeatedly stress the big toe joint, such as certain sports or occupations that involve repetitive movements or pressure on the toes, can contribute to the development of this condition.

How it can be treated ?

The treatment for hallux rigidus depends on the severity of the condition and its impact on your daily life. Here are various approaches commonly used:

Conservative Treatments:

  • Footwear modifications: Wearing shoes with a wide toe box or stiff soles to reduce pressure on the toe joint.
  • Orthotic devices: Custom shoe inserts to support and cushion the foot, providing relief.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to improve joint mobility and strengthen surrounding muscles


  • Corticosteroid injections: Provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation and pain in the joint.

Surgical Options (for severe cases): Cheilectomy: Removing bone spurs or a portion of the bone to increase joint space and improve motion.

  • Cheilectomy: Removing bone spurs or a portion of the bone to increase joint space and improve motion.
  • Arthrodesis (fusion): Joining the bones of the affected joint to alleviate pain by eliminating movement.
  • Joint replacement: Removing damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with artificial implants.

Regenerative Therapies:

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell injections: These therapies aim to promote healing and potentially reduce inflammation.

The choice of treatment depends on factors like the stage of the condition, the extent of joint damage, your activity level, and overall health. Early intervention with conservative measures often helps manage symptoms effectively. However, in severe cases where conservative treatments don't provide relief, surgical options might be considered to improve function and alleviate pain.

Consulting with a our podiatrist, who can help determine the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your specific condition and needs.



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Hallux Rigidus

Patient succes stories

Review 3

Joanne K.

Dr. Salvatore Gaudino is a miracle worker.  I had problems walking for more than five years, NOT any more.  I went to countless Specialists… One of the luckiest days of my life is when I made an appointment with him!  He is truly amazing.  The great office staff is welcoming.  What a great experience.  Thank you ALL!

Review 2

Jessica D.

Dr. Gaudino examined my son and explained to me exactly what he needed to correct his “turned feet”, as well as showing me some exercises to relieve the tension in his feet. He was so nice and caring towards my son, and really made him feel at ease. I would definitely recommend this practice to my friends and family!