Hallux Rigidus is simply the medical term used to describe a stiff big toe joint. This condition affects the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. The function of this joint is important as it is the joint that is required to bend every time we take a step. Wear-and-tear injuries, which wear down the articular cartilage, cause the raw bone ends to rub together and form a bone spur, or overgrowth, that may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as needed. The result can make walking painful and difficult.
The cause of this condition is not clear but has been seen more often in those with arthritis and other bone density conditions. This condition can also occur as a result of an injury to the big toe or as a result of activities that exert pressure on the joint. It is primarily seen in patients between the age of 30 and 60.
Signs and symptoms of Hallux Rigidus may include:
- Pain in the toe
- A bunion on the toe
- Deformity of the toe
- Pain when wearing shoes
- Pain when walking
- Sensitivity to touch