Hallux Limitus / Rigidus


Overview

Hallux limitus / rigidus is a common condition of the big toe joint where the joint itself has a reduced or limited ability to bend. Bending that is available is often painful. When walking or running, pain is predominantly noted at the push off point as the upwards bend of the joint is reduced. The measurement of how much restriction exists determines if the joint is “limited” or in more sever cases “rigid”.

Condition

Restricted and painful motion of the big toe joint due to degeneration of cartilage and formation of osteophytes (bone spurs). Passive motion of the joint illustrates the amount of range of motion loss.

Symptoms & Signs

Pain is localized to big toe joint (1st MTP joint) and may radiate out to the big toe. Once joint deformation or enlargement occurs due to the formation of osteophytes the joint often begins to become painful. Most pain often occurs at push off with the foot as the heel rises.

Treatment

Specific orthotics designed on progression of condition, footwear modifications and other products are manufactured or fitted to help your recovery.

Symptoms & Cause

The onset of Hallux limitus / rigidus can be from a prior trauma(s) or repeated stresses to the joint over many years. It is a common condition where pain may not become apparent until there is a significant reduced or limited ability to bend the big toe joint. Due to the biomechanics of walking or running the joint is often being forced to bend further than the available range of motion. Compression of friction from footwear can also exacerbate the symptoms. Pain is noted after the heel lifts and body transfers to the forefoot.

Rigid Toe Plate

Pedorthic Treatment

There are various treatments to help decrease pain in the big toe joint associated with hallux limitus or rigidus. Unlike “functional” hallux limitus which can improve, the structural version is a chronic condition that is only reversible with surgery for appropriate candidates. In cases where joint deterioration is severe, devices that limit the painful range of motion such as a rigid toe plate, or custom foot orthotics with a rigid big toe extension along with a stiff shoe can effectively reduce joint pain.

  • Rigid toe plates (Shown in Image on Left)
  • Rigid rocker sole footwear modification
  • Custom foot orthotics
  • Footwear stretching
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Surgical intervention

If you are experiencing hallux limitus/rigidus, you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Your doctor may refer you to OKAPED to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for Pedorthic management of your foot pain. This may include orthopaedic footwear, shoe selection guidance, orthotics and/or footwear modifications. If you know your condition and want to learn about new products and treatments please give us a call.

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