Big toe joint pain? Big toe stiffness (hallux rigidus)

Big toe joint pain? Big toe stiffness (hallux rigidus)

January 29, 2019

It is estimated the average person walks 1 million steps a year.  That equates to a painful year if someone has a foot problem!  Pain affecting the big toe is a very common problem that I see in the foot and ankle clinic and can affect any age group.

Stiffness and pain affecting the big toe joint is another common condition, known as hallux rigidus.  Different to a bunion, the toe tends to remain straight and more often affects men.  Patients are often young, very active, and even elite athletes are affected.  Stiffness develops as a result of repeated minor injuries over years of playing sport or overuse.  Reduced movement in the big toe can make walking, running or certain positions like crouching difficult. Bone spurs may develop on top of the toe joint (called osteophytes), which are painful to touch and may rub in shoes.  The joint may also intermittently swell.

The treatment for hallux rigidus is tailored to the patient and their activity levels.  Taping of the toe may help for sport and an orthotic to protect the big toe is often very effective.  If such measures fail, an injection in the joint can temporarily settle down any inflammation.  If symptoms do not resolve, surgery may ultimately be required, to remove bone spurs.  In advanced cases, surgery to fuse the joint completely stiff is the most reliable option to take the pain away.

At Candover Clinic, Mr Daniel Marsland, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialises in these treatments.

If you would like to book an appointment with him please call 01256 315010 or send us a message using the contact form.

For more information or to book an appointment, please call 01256 315010 or email