What is Hallux Toe?

Hallux toe or hallux rigidus is caused by arthritis in the big toe. The big toe joint is very important because it needs to bend when we take a step. So, a stiff and painful big toe can make walking difficult. Hallux toe commonly afflicts adults aged between 30 to 60 years. Commonly, a previous injury to the big toe that damaged cartilage or some foot deformity can increase stress on the big toe joint.

Symptoms of Hallux Toe

  • If you feel pain in the big toe while walking or doing any other activity
  • Swelling at the site
  • A bump or callus develops on top of the toe
  • Stiffness that makes it difficult to bend the big toe

Diagnosis of Hallux Toe
Consult a doctor if you feel pain and difficulty in bending the big toe. This condition can be treated better if it is detected early. Your doctor will physically examine the toe to check its range of motion. X-rays are essential to gauge the extent of degeneration and location of bone spurs, if any.

Treatment for Hallux Toe
You can take anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers to reduce the pain and swelling. Apply an ice pack on the painful spot to control symptoms and reduce inflammation. Wear a shoe that provides plenty of space to rest the hallux toe. Quit wearing high heels to lessen the pressure. Other common treatments for hallux toe include:

  • Wear Stiff-Soled Shoes
    These type of shoes limit motion and bending at the affected joint. So, buy and wear shoes with less flexible soles.
  • Add a Rocker Bottom to Your Shoes
    This is a curved sole that makes the foot transition smoothly from heel to toe when you are walking. This limits movement of the affected toe joint.

Surgery for Hallux Toe
Two procedures are commonly used to treat hallux toe. One is cheilectomy which removes bone spurs. The other is arthrodesis (joint fusion) which can eliminate most of the pain, but will make the toe permanently stiff. Seniors can undergo arthroplasty which involves replacing the arthritic joint with an artificial one to preserve joint motion and relieve pain.

1. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00168
2. http://orthopedics.about.com/od/toeproblems/qt/arthritis.htm

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