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Hallux Limitus/Rigidus

This is a form of degenerative arthritis that affects the big toe joint. Over time, the bones that make up this joint begin to change shape and the cartilage wears away. This will limit the amount of motion of your big toe joint. This can also cause pain with movement of this joint. This is a progressive condition, so as time goes on, it may become more painful to move this joint and the actual movement may become more and more restrictive.

Hallux limitus/rigidus is commonly caused by faulty function of the big toe joint. This can happen when a person has a flatfoot (fallen arch) or when there is excessive rolling in of the ankle. Since this is a "wear and tear" condition, it can occur by overusing the joint in activities such as squatting or stooping. An injury, like stubbing your toe, can damage the cartilage and bones that make up this joint leading to the development of the arthritis.

If the condition can be diagnosed early enough, the more likely a less aggressive treatment can be used to manage the condition. For this reason, if you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your big toe joint it is important to be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist.

Treatments for mild and moderate hallux limitus include shoes that place less pressure on this joint, custom-made orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. For more advanced cases, surgery may be needed to remove bone spurs and decompress the joint by realigning it properly. This serves to preserve the function and structure of the joint. More aggressive procedures may be done to replace part or all of the joint in order to eliminate pain.

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