Hallux rigidus is the term used to describe arthritis in the big toe joint. The joint is often painful, swollen and stiff with little to no movement possible.
The cause of the arthritis is often due to some form of trauma to the joint from a sudden impact (stubbed toe) or poor foot function (flat feet). Once the cartlidge in the toe has been damaged, bony spurs begin to form arount the joint, slowly reducing the amount of movement possible.
The reduced motion in the joint and spurs can make it difficult and painful to walk, run, wear certain narrow shoes and simply perform many daily activities.
Conservative treatments generally include footwear modifications, rocker-bottom shoes, stiff innersoles to prevent movement in the joint, orthotics can be used to improve foot function and reduce stress on the joint.
Pain medication may help to provide some relief from symptoms.
The failure of conservative treatments may indicate the need for surgery to remove the bony spurs which have develiped or fuse the joint entirely.