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Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the first joint of the big toe. Hallux refers to the big toe and rigidus is a term indicating that the toe cannot move properly or is “rigid.” Hallux rigidus is a form of arthritis and can be very uncomfortable, even painful to the point of being debilitating.

Human beings use their feet for stability and mobility. The big toe plays a large role in a person’s stability. Hallux rigidus is a progressive condition in which the joint of the toe becomes increasingly painful and less flexible until it is finally unable to flex or move, at all. Once the toe reaches this final stage, it is sometimes referred to as a frozen joint and regular movement can become painful or impossible.

What Is Hallux Rigidus?

Hallux is a term that refers to the big toe and rigidus indicates that the toe cannot move properly or is “rigid.” Hallux rigidus is brought on by a combination of factors including foot anatomy, injury, overuse, incorrect footwear, family history, and existing arthritis conditions.

In the early stages, the condition is called hallux limitus, indicating that the flexibility of the big toe is limited and painful. If hallux limitus is not addressed, it may progress into hallux rigidus, which is the complete immobility of the big toe. Hallux rigidus can cause bone spurs on the joint of the big toe and almost always indicates the presence of arthritis. As arthritis worsens, the joint will lose all mobility and become increasingly painful.

Symptoms of hallux limitus begin mildly and worsen over time. Symptoms include pain, inflexibility, a bony lump on top of the big toe, numbness or tingling, new calluses, difficulty wearing shoes, pain in the knees, hips, or low back, and limping.

What Causes Hallux Rigidus?

Risk factors for hallux rigidus include foot anatomy, injury, overuse, incorrect footwear, family history, and arthritis.

  • Foot Anatomy – People with an abnormal metatarsal joint or a metatarsal bone that is longer than normal or elevated are at greater risk for developing hallux rigidus. The unusual foot anatomy prevents the hallux joint from working properly and, over time, the unusual movement irritates the joint and increases immobility.
  • Injury – Injuries such as severely stubbing the big toe, breaking it, or sustaining a severe sprain can increase the odds of developing hallux rigidus.
  • Overuse – Certain sports and occupations require repetitive pressure on the toes and can, over time, lead to damage to the big toe joint.
  • Footwear – Wearing high heels can place increased stress on the hallux joint and lead to overuse injuries. High heels can negatively affect the smaller joints in the feet, as well.
  • Family History – People with family members who experience stiff or immobile big toes are at greater risk of developing hallux rigidus, as well.
  • Arthritic Disorders – People suffering from certain types of arthritis are at greater risk for developing hallux limitus, progressing to hallux rigidus. Gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis put individuals at increased risk for developing problems in their toe joints.

If you are struggling with pain or inflexibility in your big toe joint, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis today! Proper treatment and preventive measures can help prevent the condition from worsening and offer relief from your painful symptoms.

Dr. Jeffery Kleis is a podiatrist in Costa Mesa with more than 25 years of experience treating all manner of disorders of the feet and ankle. Dr. Kleis will examine your big toe, determine the extent of damage, and prescribe a course of action that will best help you heal and, if possible, return to full function. Sometimes X-rays are needed to rule out a broken bone. Dr. Kleis will also take a full medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle and general health to assist in ruling out any contributing conditions.

Dr. Kleis may prescribe a walking boot or other immobilization devices to aid in healing. Physical therapy may be required. Specific strengthening and stretching exercises may help to restore your range of motion, flexibility, strength, and stability. Dr. Kleis can assist you in fully relieving the symptoms of hallux rigidus.

For an evaluation of your painful big toe or assistance in regaining full use after an injury, please contact Dr. Kleis at (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online.

Hallux Rigidus Symptoms

Symptoms of hallux limitus begin mildly and worsen over time. Symptoms include:

  • Pain – Pain will first present at the top of the joint and will get worse with walking or other activities that require the joint to bend frequently. As the condition worsens, a person may begin to experience pain even when at rest.
  • Inflexibility – The big toe will become difficult to flex and painful if forced to bend.
  • Bony Lump – A bony lump may form on top of the big toe. The bump will hurt when pressed or rubbed by shoes.
  • Numbness or Tingling – If bone spurs begin pressing on the nerves in the big toe, a person may experience numbness or tingling in the toe.
  • Calluses – A callus may form under the joint of the big toe from the increased pressure. Hallux limitus can change a person’s walking mechanics, resulting in new calluses forming in new places on the foot.
  • Difficulty Wearing Shoes – Hallux rigidus may cause bone spurs to develop, making it difficult to wear shoes.
  • Pain in the Hips, Knees, or Lower Back – Hallux rigidus changes a person’s walking mechanics which can place unusual pressure on the knees, hips and lower back of suffers.
  • Limping – In severe cases, hallux rigidus can make it painful to walk at all, causing the sufferer to limp.

Hallux Limitus

Hallux limitus is a condition of the hallux, the joint that connects the big toe to the foot. Individuals with hallux limitus have trouble bending their big toe, as their toe joint has limited flexibility. Trying to bend the big toe may be painful and the condition can cause pain when walking, running, or performing other common activities.

If hallux limitus is not addressed, it may progress into a more serious condition, hallux rigidus, which is the complete immobility of the big toe. As hallux limitus worsens, it can begin to cause bone spurs on the joint of the big toe and, eventually, arthritis. As arthritis worsens, the joint will lose all mobility and become increasingly painful.

Symptoms of hallux limitus begin mildly and worsen over time. Symptoms include:

  • Pain – Pain will first present at the top of the joint and will get worse with walking or other activities that require the joint to bend frequently.
  • Inflexibility – The big toe will become difficult to flex and painful if forced to bend.
  • Bony Lump – A bony lump may form on top of the big toe. The bump will hurt when pressed or rubbed by shoes.
  • Numbness or Tingling – If bone spurs begin pressing on the nerves in the big toe, a person may experience numbness or tingling in the toe.
  • Calluses – A callus may form under the joint of the big toe from the increased pressure. Hallux limitus can change a person’s walking mechanics, resulting in new calluses forming in new places on the foot.

Risk factors for hallux limitus include foot anatomy, injury, overuse, incorrect footwear, family history, and arthritis.

  • Foot Anatomy – People with an abnormal metatarsal joint or a metatarsal bone that is longer than normal or elevated are at greater risk for developing hallux limitus. The unusual foot anatomy prevents the hallux joint from working properly and, over time, the unusual movement irritates the joint and increases immobility.
  • Injury – Injuries such as severely stubbing the big toe, breaking it, or sustaining a severe sprain can increase the odds of developing hallux limitus.
  • Overuse – Certain sports and occupations require repetitive pressure on the toes and can, over time, lead to damage to the big toe joint.
  • Footwear – Wearing high heels can place increased stress on the hallux joint and lead to overuse injuries. High heels can negatively affect the smaller joints in the feet, as well.
  • Family History – People with family members who experience stiff or immobile big toes are at greater risk of developing hallux limitus themselves.
  • Arthritic Disorders – People suffering from certain types of arthritis are at greater risk for developing hallux limitus, progressing to hallux rigidus. Gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis put individuals at increased risk for developing problems in their toe joints.

If you are struggling with pain or inflexibility in your big toe joint, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kleis today! Proper treatment and preventive measures can help prevent the condition from worsening and offer relief from your painful symptoms.

Dr. Jeffery Kleis is a podiatrist in Costa Mesa with more than 25 years of experience treating all manner of disorders of the feet and ankle. Dr. Kleis will examine your big toe, determine the extent of damage, and prescribe a course of action that will best help you heal and, if possible, return to full function. Sometimes X-rays are needed to rule out a broken bone. Dr. Kleis will also take a full medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle and general health to assist in ruling out any contributing conditions.

Dr. Kleis may prescribe a walking boot or other immobilization devices to aid in healing. Physical therapy may be required. Specific strengthening and stretching exercises may help to restore your range of motion, flexibility, strength, and stability. Dr. Kleis can assist you in fully relieving the symptoms of hallux limitus.

For an evaluation of your painful big toe or assistance in regaining full use after an injury, please contact Dr. Kleis at (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online.

Big Toe Can’t Move

If a person is suffering from pain and stiffness in the big toe, there are several conditions that must be considered including a sprain, hallux limitus, and hallux rigidus.

  • Sprain - A sprained big toe can create pain and stiffness and prevent the big toe from moving. This is a short-term injury that will heal with proper treatment and full use can be restored.
  • Hallux Limitus – Limited movement and pain upon bending in the first joint of the big toe can be caused by a condition called hallux limitus. Hallux limitus is caused by a combination of genetics and over-use. If left untreated, the condition can worsen until the big toe cannot be bent, at all. This condition is called hallux rigidus.
  • Hallux Rigidus – Limited or altered movement of the big toe joint can cause damage to the joint that turns into osteoarthritis, an overuse or degenerative type of arthritis. Hallux rigidus can make performing everyday activities difficult and even impossible.

If you have difficulty moving your big toe, an evaluation is necessary to determine whether an injury or a progressive condition is to blame. Dr. Jeffery Kleis will put his 25 years of experience to work for you, in determining the cause of your big toe’s limited mobility and devise a treatment plan that will return you to full use or prevent the condition from progressing.

For an evaluation of your painful big toe, please contact Dr. Kleis at (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online.

Hallux Rigidus Treatment

A stiff, painful big toe may be caused by a sprain or other injury. Or, it could be the result of a progressive condition like hallux limitus. Left untreated, hallux limitus will progress, causing bone spurs or arthritis, until full a person loses the use of their big toe altogether. This final condition is known as hallux rigidus and can severely limit a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

If you have difficulty a stiff, painful big toe, an evaluation is necessary to determine whether an injury or a progressive condition is to blame. Dr. Jeffery Kleis will put his 25 years of experience to work for you, in determining the cause of your big toe’s limited mobility and devise a treatment plan that will return you to full use or prevent the condition from progressing.

For hallux rigidus treatment, please contact Dr. Kleis at (714) 760-4944 or book an appointment online.

 

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