Hallux rigidus is a condition in which there is little or no motion available at the big toe or first metatarsophalangeal joint of the foot. The most common cause of hallux rigidus is osteoarthritis. The condition not only causes pain, but has significant impact on gait. The big toe joint is crucial for normal function as it is this joint that the body pivots over the foot as we move forward. As hallux rigidus blocks that forward pivot this makes walking a lot harder as well as cause changes to the gait that can also result in symptoms in other parts of the foot and leg and even further up the kinetic chain.
The initial treatment of hallux rigidus is to deal with the painful symptoms. Often strapping to stop what motion is left can help. Sometimes injection into the joint and anti-inflammatory drugs can also help the symptoms. Over the medium to longer term, a rocker can be added to the shoe to allow the foot to rock forward over this rather than place demands on the painful joint. If all this is not successful, then there are surgical options that can be used.