Hallux rigidus is a disorder in when the movement of the big toe or hallux joint of the foot is rigid and is typically connected with osteoarthritis. The large toe joint of the feet are really quite a significant joint in the body as it must bend so the leg can progress over the foot when walking. If anything hinders the movement at that joint, then forward movement will probably be a lot more difficult and stress will be placed on other joints that have to bend more as that joint is not bending adequately. This could result in pain in the great toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. In addition, it will cause an unusual wear pattern on the shoes. The primary cause of hallux rigidus is generally a previous injury to the joint. After a while this sets up a process of abnormal use which results in more damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. In due course the restricted motion of the joint is further limited and the joint will become rigid with no movement possible.
The simplest way to take care of a Hallux Rigidus is appropriate therapy for the initial injury with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises to prevent or slow down the developments of the osteoarthritis. When the joint is painful, then medications and injections into the joint may be used for the symptoms. The use of a more rigid sole shoe can often be helpful as this decreases the demand on the joint to flex. Some footwear can also have a rocker added to them, so that you can move over the rocker and do not need to use the joint as much. If these conservative methods aren't helpful, then the next step is surgical. There are various alternatives here. The simplest, if indicated, is to simply get rid of some bone of the top of the joint to permit to bend more. If that is not possible, then the joint can be surgically fused to prevent it bending. This kind of fusion addresses the symptoms as a result of the osteoarthritis since the joint can't bend.