Hallux Rigidus (stiff toe) - a simple explanation
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Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus – description

Hallux Rigidus is the Latin name denoting toe (hallux) and stiff (rigidus), indicating a stiff big toe. Damage to the articular cartilage and the bony structures of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe leads to restricted mobility. As the natural roll-through movement is mainly steered by the big toe, the condition of Hallux means that this is virtually impossible. Consequently, abnormal pressure is put on both the joint and the foot, often resulting in pain.


Cause of Hallux Rigidus

Besides genetic components, this condition is often caused by malposition of the ball of the foot (Hallux Valgus), shoes being too tight for the feet and the flexor digitorum muscle being too short, or a shrinkage of the joint capsule. Athletes, on the other hand, can put the causes down to very different reasons: Here, it is not insufficient strain which is the cause, but rather too much pressure due to permanent microfractures sustained from long-distance runs or field sports where an insufficient recuperation period follows.

Treatment for Hallux Rigidus

A certain amount of relief can be achieved by using inserts which take into account a stiffening of the of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe or lowering of the tip of the big toe. Other possible treatments include rolling movement aids or deepening the sole of the shoe, as well as physical therapies (heat/cold/ultrasound) and anti-inflammatory medication.