Hallux Rigidus - Causes, symptoms, Treatement


When you suffer from Hallux Rigidus (sometimes called hallux limitus when symptoms are limited)  the big toe is stiff because the joints between the bones of toe are worn out. The toe is stiff and pointed straight forward, and can be difficult to move up and down. This does not allow the toe to settle well. Sometimes the symptoms occur only in the morning, or in motion after a period of rest. With hallux rigidus walking is often difficult, and sometimes even painful. Sometimes the toe is thick and swollen because it moves unnaturally in the shoe.

The deviation can sometimes occur without serious symptoms, then treatment is unnecessary. When pain or other symptoms occurr, treatment might be required. Especially elderly suffer from hallux rigidus, though it also comes in young people.

Hallux Rigidus causes

The most common causes of stiff toe are:

  • Wear of the cartilage (visible on X-rays) or cracks in the toe. In some sports the risk  for hallux rigidus is higher, eg football (by kicking the ball), or sports that involve much jumping (volleyball, gymnastics)
  • Other foot problems can also cause hallux rigidus. Especially with hallux valgus this is the case, sometimes also with flat feet or high arches.
  • Joint Inflammation (gout, rheumatism). These are also the cause of bone outgrows around the affected joint.


Symptoms are:

  • Restriction of the movement of the big toe
  • Pain when walking and moving, especially at the top of the toe.
  • Sometimes swelling in the big toe
  • Shoes often do not fit nice
  • Proliferation cartilage between the joints in the toe


Treating the complaint is not always necessary. Some people have the injury without suffering the symptoms. For people with complaints there are the following treatments:

  • Special hallux rigidus insoles with a reinforced sole, ensuring that the teen does not have to settle.
  • Podiatry: If the cause of a foot injury deviation should be possible with this specially created insoles corrected.
  • Wear good (solid) shoes, especially a stiff soles can help to reduce. Unwinding
  • Peace keeping can reduce the pain and possibly reduce the injury.
  • Arthrodesis: surgical fixation of the joints in the big toe in a good position. There can be no friction between the cartilage occur, and the toe is pain free again
  • Cheilectomie: the proliferating cartilage between the joints is surgically removed. This is somewhat at the expense of the power of the toe, and is therefore less often used with young people.

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