Hallux Rigidis (rigid big toe)
Our team of specialists and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well being. The following information is for educational purposes, which covers an array of educational topics. Please note that many of the topics and procedures discussed are beyond the scope of practice of a Chiropodist. Your Chiropodist would be happly to help direct you to the appropriate practitioner as necessary.
We strongly encourage everyone to also consult their family physician regarding all health (including foot care) needs to ensure comprehensive care.
For a more comprehensive search of our entire Web site, enter your term(s) in the search bar provided.
As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.
An unmovable big toe, known as Hallux Rigidus, is the most common form of arthritis in your foot.
Hallux Rigidus occurs as a result of wear-and-tear injuries, which wear down the articular cartilage, causing raw bone ends to rub together. A bone spur, or overgrowth, may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as it needs to when you walk. The resulting stiff big toe can make walking painful and difficult.
- A bump, like a bunion or callus, that develops on the top of the foot.
- Pain in the joint when active, especially as you push-off on the toes when you walk.
- Stiffness in the big toe and an inability to bend it up or down.
- Swelling around the joint.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed to reduce swelling and ease the pain. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications. Applying ice packs or soaking the foot in contrast baths (alternating cold and hot water) may also help reduce inflammation and control symptoms for a short period of time.
A stiff-soled shoe with a rocker or roller bottom design and possibly a steel shank or metal brace in the sole can help alleviate the symptoms. These types of shoes add greater support when walking and reduce the amount of bend in the big toe.
When damage is more severe, a surgical procedure may be performed to remove the bone spurs, as well as a portion of the foot bone, and allow the toe more room to bend.