Understanding Hallux Rigidus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Are you experiencing stiffness and pain in your big toe, making it difficult to walk or engage in your daily activities? You might be suffering from a condition known as hallux rigidus. Hallux rigidus, also referred to as stiff big toe, is a degenerative arthritis that affects the joint at the base of the big toe. This condition can significantly impact your quality of life if left untreated. In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for hallux rigidus to help you better understand this condition.


Hallux rigidus often develops due to wear and tear on the joint, leading to degeneration of the cartilage. This can be caused by several factors, including:

  1. Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing hallux rigidus.
  2. Injury: Previous trauma or injury to the big toe joint can increase the risk of developing hallux rigidus.
  3. Overuse: Activities that put excessive stress on the big toe joint, such as running or participating in high-impact sports, can contribute to the development of this condition.
  4. Anatomical abnormalities: Certain foot structures, such as a long first metatarsal bone or a shallow joint, can predispose individuals to developing hallux rigidus.


The symptoms of hallux rigidus can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  1. Pain and stiffness: Persistent pain and stiffness in the big toe joint, particularly during movement or when bearing weight.
  2. Difficulty walking: The stiffness and pain in the big toe joint can make it challenging to walk or engage in activities that require bending the toe.
  3. Swelling: Swelling and inflammation around the affected joint may be present, especially after periods of activity.
  4. Limited range of motion: As the condition progresses, you may experience a decreased range of motion in the big toe joint, making it difficult to bend or flex the toe.

Treatment Options:

While hallux rigidus is a chronic condition, there are several treatment options available to help manage symptoms and improve mobility. These may include:

  1. Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with hallux rigidus.
  2. Physical therapy: Specific exercises and stretches prescribed by a physical therapist can help improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles around the big toe joint.
  3. Orthotics: Custom orthotic inserts can provide support and cushioning for the foot, reducing pressure on the affected joint.
  4. Footwear modifications: Wearing shoes with a wide toe box and low heels can help alleviate pressure on the big toe joint and improve comfort.
  5. Steroid injections: Injections of corticosteroids directly into the affected joint can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation.
  6. Surgery: In severe cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical options such as cheilectomy (removal of bone spurs) or joint fusion may be recommended to restore function to the big toe joint.

If you are experiencing symptoms of hallux rigidus, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. With proper management, you can effectively manage your symptoms and maintain an active lifestyle. Don’t let hallux rigidus hold you back – take the first step towards relief today!

Top of Form


Read the latest news

Covid-19 Update

What are we doing to protect you?

During lockdown there has been much soul searching and questioning if I should continue in Practice or not, given the level of investment required and the measures we must implement to ensure the safety of everyone. Although it will not be easy, I have decided not to be beaten and to continue with The Footings and make it as safe a practice as it could possibly be!  In future when attending clinic, you will be asked to:

 • Stand on a disinfectant mat 

• Use the hand gel provided

 • Put on a mask provided 

The Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) worn by the Podiatrist will consist of: 

• Scrubs 

• Disposable apron

• Face Mask 

• Safety Glasses 

• Mop cap 

• Disposable Gloves 

Only one person will be allowed on the premises at a time to ensure Social Distancing unless you are from the same household, or the patient requires a carer. 

• HEPA filtration unit will be constantly on during clinical sessions. 

• Deep Cleaning equipment is to be used at the end of each treatment 

• Whole room Disinfectant Fogging at the end of each session.

 • Sneeze Screens are being installed both in clinical rooms and Reception area to further ensure safety. 

As I am sure you appreciate these measures are gold standard and are being implemented to ensure safety for all concerned. As a result, I have no choice but to implement an increase in fees to reflect that standard. Therefore, Podiatry fees for consultation plus treatment will be £55. Appointments are now being prioritised for the most at risk patients, but extra clinics are being made available so we can catch up with everyone soon.