Hallux rigidus is a condition in which the movement in the big toe joint of the feet are rigid and is usually connected with osteoarthritis. The great toe joint of the feet are actually quite an important joint in the body as it has got to flex so the body can progress over the feet when walking. If anything prevents the motion at that joint, then advancing is going to be a lot more difficult and force will probably be added to other joints that have to flex more as that joint just isn't moving adequately. This can bring about pain in the big toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. It also leads to an unusual wear pattern on the footwear. The main cause of hallux rigidus is usually a previous injury to the joint. With time this sets up a process of abnormal use that results in further damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. Subsequently the restricted motion of the joint is even more restricted and the joint becomes rigid with no motion possible.
The simplest way to treat a Hallux Rigidus is proper management of the initial trauma with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises to prevent or slow down the developments of the osteoarthritis. If the joint is painful, then drug treatments and injection therapy into the joint may be used for the symptoms. The use of a firmer sole footwear is frequently helpful as this reduces the demand on the joint to flex. Some footwear can also have a rocker added to them, in order that you pivot over the rocker and do not need to use the joint as much. If these conservative approaches are not helpful, then the alternative is surgical. There are several alternatives here. The easiest, if indicated, is to just get rid of some bone of the top of the joint to permit the joint to flex more. If that's not possible, then the joint can be surgically fused to stop it flexing. This kind of fusion deals with the symptoms caused by the osteoarthritis as the joint is unable to bend.