With Hallux Limitus, big toe stiffness is a big deal.


The human big toe is also known as the Great Toe, and its Latin name is hallux. Despite the fact that the big toe is a little part of the body, stiffness causes chronic pain, restricts activity, and makes everyday tasks difficult. Hallux limitus, a condition in which the motion of the big toe joint is restricted, causes pain at the base of the big toe joint (the first metatarsophalangeal joint). The condition known as hallux rigidus, or “stiff toe,” develops over time as a result of the big toe’s limited range of motion.




Hallux rigidus, the most common degenerative arthritic condition of the foot, affects one out of every 40 persons over the age of 50. It’s usually bilateral (involving both big toes). Women are more likely than men to develop hallux rigidus, and the condition is growing more widespread as our population ages.




The most common cause of hallux rigidus is trauma, such as a badly stubbed or fractured big toe. The issue is also linked to excessive pronation (inward rotation of the foot) and collapsing arches. Foot structural anomalies, which are usually inherited, might affect function and increase the chance of developing osteoarthritis in the big toe joint. Hallux rigidus is more common in people who work in jobs that require them to squat or stoop. Inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and gout, among others, can play a part.




Hallux rigidus is a common repeated stress injury among athletes. Running, football, basketball, and soccer all put the big toe under a lot of stress. Activities that require squatting, such as playing baseball catcher, exacerbate the metatarsophalangeal joint. Wearing soft shoes on a firm surface is another element that contributes to the development of hallux rigidus.




Here are some early signs that you may have hallux limitus:


The joint in the big toe is stiff and uncomfortable.


There is stiffness and pain when bending the big toe.


Wet, cold weather aggravates the pain.


Do you have difficulty stooping, crouching, or running? (especially when pushing off)


The joint of the big toe is enlarged.



When the sickness progresses to hallux rigidus, further symptoms may appear:


Your big toe is unable to bend (s)


You have ache while you rest.


A bunion-like bulge (bone spur) causes pain when wearing shoes.


Limping and poor foot mechanics cause pain in the ankles, legs, knees, hips, and perhaps the back.




A physical exam and X-rays are used to confirm a diagnosis. If you have hallux rigidus, your podiatrist may recommend the following treatment options:


Shoes with a bigger toe box and harder soles ease pressure on the big toe.


Pain is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).


Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation


Physical therapy is a sort of treatment that is used to help people recover from injuries.


Custom orthotic inserts are available upon request.




Because we need our big toe(s) to stand, walk, climb, and crouch, it’s no surprise that hallux rigidus is disabling. If left untreated, bending and range of motion in the big toe joint will deteriorate until it becomes frozen. Don’t put off seeking help until you’re in extreme pain and have limited foot function. Consult your podiatrist to learn how IDEASTEP Orthotics’ custom-made orthotics can help you with your individual foot problems. For nearly 30 years, we’ve been creating orthotics.

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