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  • Writer's picturePasadena Orthopedics, Inc.

Hallux Rigidus (Stiff Big Toe Joint)

Updated: May 30, 2021



Overview : Hallux Rigidus is a type of arthritis that affects the base of the big toe. It forms in the metatarsophalangeal joint (doctors call it the "MTPJ"). With hallux rigidus, the protective cartilage on the ends of these bones wears away which causes bone to rub against bone. Bony growths called "bone spurs" may form. Your toe stiffens, and this can make walking uncomfortable or even painful.


Causes: Doctors don't fully understand exactly what causes this type of arthritis. It may be caused by overuse, genetics, poor shoe gear, etc. It may be linked to a foot injury or other problem. It may be linked to a certain type of foot anatomy that puts stress on the MTP joint.


Symptoms: Hallux rigidus tends to develop between the ages of 30 and 60. It causes pain and stiffness. You may not be able to bend the toe up or down. The joint may swell. Your toe may hurt more with activity. Calluses may form which is an indication that you may need either orthotics or, in the more serious case, surgical treatment.


Treatment: Treatment may include medication, inserts/orthotics, specific shoes that support your toe. You may need to limit activities that make your symptoms worse. If these don't help, you may benefit from surgery. Call us to discuss further at 626-517-0022.



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