Hallux rigidus is a common progressive arthritic condition associated with the big toe. The precise cause of hallux rigdus is still unknown but many orthopedic doctors in Carrollton, Texas believe that the increased motion within the big toe joints causes the cartilage between the joints to wear off which leads to hallux rigdus.
Risk Factors – The following factors may contribute to the prevalence of hallux rigidus:
- This condition may also develop due to the overuse of the big toe joint.
- People with osteoarthritis are more prone to developing this disorder.
- Imbalance in foot structure may also trigger the development of hallux rigidous.
- It is believed that people with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout etc. may cause hallux rigidus.
- Participating in activities that involve continuous stress on the big toe joint may lead to hallux rigidus.
- Some researchers believe that hallux rigidus may also be inherited.
Symptoms – Some early and late symptoms of hallux rigidus include:
- Intense pain in the big toe joint Stiffness and tenderness around the joint
- Crushing feeling when the foot is moved
- Difficulty in bending big toe up and down
- Inability to bear weight
- Pain in lower back
- Pain in other lower extremity joints
- Difficulty in wearing shoes
- Gait problems like walking with a limp
- Development of bunion and bone spurs
Diagnosis – It is advisable to consult an orthopedic doctor if the aforementioned symptoms are noticed. The doctors may perform physical examination and imaging tests like X-ray and MRI to rule out other problems. He may also conduct biomechanical and gait exam to determine the severity of condition.
Treatment – The treatment of hallux rigidus depends on the diagnostic report. Some of the common treatments, however, include:
- Non-surgical treatment: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed by the orthopedic doctors to relieve pain and inflammation. You may also be suggested to wear proper-fitting footwear. In order to regain the flexibility of big toe joint, daily stretching exercises such as toe extensor stretch and bunion stretch may also be recommended by the doctor. The orthopedic doctors may also refer you to a physical therapist to help you with abduction/adduction, dorsiflexion and flexibility exercises.
- Surgical treatment: Surgery may be considered by the doctors in severe cases of hallux rigidus. The most common surgical treatments include joint fusion, artificial joint replacement and cheilectomy.
Prevention: Following steps must be taken in order to prevent this condition:
- Practicing joint mobility exercises
- Wearing proper shoes
- Regular podiatric care