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Stiff and painful first toe joint (hallux limitus or hallux rigidus)

Related Information Sheets

Does your big toe joint feel stiff and painful?

If it does, then you may be suffering from a condition known as hallux limitus or hallux rigidus.

Literally meaning limited or restricted upward and downward motion of your first toe joint, hallux limitus is a progressive osteoarthritic degenerative process affecting this very important joint in your foot.

For normal walking or gait to occur, we need an adequate quality and amount of upward and downward motion at the first toe joint. When this motion is painful or limited, we compensate by altering our gait, which can result in other lower limb and sometimes back pain to develop.

Treatment for hallux limitus involves both non-surgical and surgical approaches, depending on the individual and the stage of the deformity. Non-surgical techniques include addressing the functional aspect of hallux limitus using orthotics to improve foot position and function, which is a contributing cause of the hallux limitus in the first place. Appropriate footwear advice and pain relief with suitable medication and supplements are also effective non-surgical options. Surgical correction for your hallux limitus, using techniques which have proven successful over the years, provides you with further options.

For more detailed information, see our Acrobat pdf Information sheets on Hallux limitus and Selecting the proper shoe which are available on our website.

Please remember that the information in these documents should not be used as a substitute for podiatric or medical attention.