how to treat hallux rigidus

How to treat hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus is a condition in which the big toe joint becomes more rigid making it painful to walk The most common cause of hallux rigidus is osteoarthritis of the big toe joint, which is a ‘wear and tear’ arthritis of that joint.

The treatment approach to hallux rigidus involves:

  1. Pain relief. This could mean the use of medications to relieve the pain; the use of ice on the joint; or even an injection into the joint.
  2. As it hurts to move the joint, then that movement needs to be restricted. This can be done with the taping or strapping of the joint. What is called a Morton’s extension padding can be used under the joint to restrict its movement. There are rigid carbon fiber plates that can be inserted into the shoe to make the forefoot rigid so that the joint does not have to bend so much. A shoe with a rocker sole also allows you to walk and rock over the shoe rather than use the big toe joint as much. Surgery for hallux rigidus can also fuse the joint to totally restrict it from moving.
  3. Get the motion back into the joint. In some cases, mobilizations and physical therapy may be able to restore some motion back into the joint that is not painful. Surgery such as a cheilectomy that removes the bone spurs that are restricting the movement or an implant placed into the joint may also be able to restore movement back to the big toe joint.

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