Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus Introduction

Human body comprises of number of bones and joints. These bones and joints provide support to our body and facilitate the body movements. Just imagine how our body would like without bones and joints? These bones and joints may develop certain abnormalities owing to injuries sustained by them or due to complications produced by diseases like arthritis and osteoarthritis. Hallux Rigidus is on one of such abnormalities.

Description of Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus is a condition wherein arthritis affects the big toe joint. This condition is considered as a type of degenerative arthritis. Stiffness and pain in the big toe are main characteristics of the Hallux Rigidus. The stiffness caused by this condition increases over a period of time. Hallux Rigidus is also known by other name ‘Stiff Big Toe’.

In Hallux Rigidus condition the cartilage of big toe joint base wears thin.

Causes behind development of Hallux Rigidus

There are number of causes associated with development of Hallux Rigidus.Following are some of the most common causes.

  • Overuse of foot joints. This type of cases are found more in people who undertake job or activities involving enhanced stress on their foot in general and big toe in particular.
  • Injury sustained by big toe like stubbing of toe
  • Structural abnormalities of foot
  • Complications produced by other inflammatory diseases like gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus

The symptoms are related to the cause of development of condition. Usually, following common symptoms are indicative of development of Hallux Rigidus.

  • Stiffness and pain of big toe
  • Stiffness and pain in big toe that is aggravated by climatic conditions like cold and damp weather
  • Inflammation and swelling surrounding the big toe joint area

Diagnosis of Hallux Rigidus

Usually, diagnosis is based on the symptoms. If you experience one or some of the symptoms listed above, you must consult your doctor immediately. After conducting your physical examination, your doctor will decide whether the symptoms confirm the development of Hallux Rigidus. Your doctor may also advise you to undergo X-Ray investigation.

Treatment of Hallux Rigidus

There are various options available for treating Hallux Rigidus. Selection of treatment is associated with the stage of the disease and cause behind development of this condition. Medications, physiotherapy and surgery are most commonly used treatments.

  • Medications : Usually, medications like pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for treatment of Hallux Rigidus. Corticosteroid injections may also be prescribed in severe cases. Injecting small amounts of corticosteroids helps in relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
  • Physiotherapy : In some cases physical therapy and ultrasound therapy can also be prescribed. Use of orthotic devices and different type of shoe may also be prescribed.
  • Surgery : Though surgery is one of the options for treatment of Hallux Rigidus it is performed only in severe cases.

Complications produced by Hallux Rigidus

Development of bone spur is most common complication produced by Hallux Rigidus. Bone spur is a bony prominence developed along the joint. Bone spurs are common in arthritis. Bone spurs are also known by common name osteophytes.