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Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus is a painful condition of the big toe (hallux) affecting the joint between the first toe and foot (metatarsal phalangeal joint).

Arthritis of the metatarsal phalangeal joint results in stiffness (rigidus), swelling, bony spurs, or a "bump" on the top of the metatarsal phalangeal joint. Shoe-wear may be limited by this painful prominence. The metatarsal phalangeal joint of the great toe may be sore and swollen, and the limited upward motion (dorsiflexion) of that joint may result in decreased push-off ability of the foot, as well as a limp.

Treatment initially is conservative with anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin or Advil. Ice bags applied to the great toe for approximately 10-15 minutes after activities also is a very cheap and effective anti-inflammatory treatment. Roomy, comfortable shoes with extra room in the toe box and a soft upper material that is flexible also is helpful. Shoes that have a stiffer sole allow less motion at the meta-tarsal phalangeal joint of the big toe and protect the joint.

Custom orthotic inlays with extra support underneath the great toe (Morton's extension), or a lightweight carbon fiber plate underneath the shoe liner, also may help to support this arthritic big toe.

Finally, cases of hallux rigidus that do not respond to conservative treatment may require medical attention. Cortisone injections may help provide relief and, finally, surgery may be required for cases of severe hallux rigidus that do not respond to conservative treatment.

The team at Food Menders and our shoe store partners can help select the proper size and type of shoe for hallux rigidus, as well as fabricate custom orthotic devices to relieve many cases of hallux rigidus.

This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. Foot Menders will not answer medical questions via email. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.