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What is Hallux Limitus?

The big toe is called hallux. Hallux limitus means stiff big toe. This condition causes pain and affects range of motion at the big toe joint. It can also lead to arthritis of this joint. In this article, we reveal the symptoms, causes and treatments for hallux limitus.

Symptoms of Hallux Limitus

  • Painful big toe, which becomes worse while walking
  • A bump may form at the top of the affected big toe joint
  • Range of motion decreases at this joint
  • Bone spurs may form and the joint space may narrow, as shown by X-rays
  • A callus may form on the big toe side
  • Hallux limitus can affect other joints in the body and even cause back pain

Causes of Hallux Limitus

  • Abnormal anatomy of the foot is a major cause
  • Acute trauma, for example, a fracture at this joint
  • Repetitive trauma, for example, turf toe which affects the big toe joint
  • Inflammatory conditions like gout, psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment for Hallux Limitus

  • RICE treatment (Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation) is prescribed
  • The big toe should be stretched to maintain range of motion
  • You can wear orthotic devices like arch supports to minimize stress on the affected toe
  • Shoes with rocker or stiff soles can help to minimize motion at the affected joint
  • Comfort pads can be worn inside shoes
  • Surgery is the last option and is usually undertaken to restore some degree of range of motion. Or, the joint is fused completely to minimize motion.

Resources:
1. http://foothealth.about.com/od/sprainsstrains/a/Hallux-Limitus.htm
2. http://www.footankleinstitute.com/hallux-limitus/

To learn how to self-mobilize a big toe joint affected by Hallux limitus, please watch this video:

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