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The big toe is essential for foot mobility and balance. The toe has two joints, one at the base (metatarsophalangeal MTP) and one in the middle of the toe (interphalangeal). Hallux rigidus is a condition where the MTP joint of the big toe becomes stiff, causing pain and limiting function. Our team of orthopedic specialists at DOCS Health offer hallux rigidus treatment and surgery at our state-of-the-art medical center in Los Angeles.

Causes and Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus can be a complication of other foot or toe conditions, or the cause may not be known. Arthritis, including rheumatoid and gout, can contribute to the stiffening of the big toe joint. Injuries to the foot or toe, overuse and abnormalities in the foot structure can all be possible triggers. Symptoms of hallux rigidus include:

  • Swelling and inflammation at the base of the toe (MTP joint)
  • Pain and stiffness (acute, then chronic)
  • Balance issues when running or squatting
  • Limping
  • Bone spurs
  • Pain in the hip, lower back and knee from foot dysfunction

If left untreated, hallux rigidus can cause chronic pain and limit mobility. Early treatment can be effective to minimize stiffness, reduce pain and improve toe/foot function. Non-surgical treatments include corticosteroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications, as well as physical therapy, specialized footwear and orthopedic devices. For severe cases, surgery may be recommended.

Surgical treatment for severe hallux rigidus is usually cheilectomy, a surgical removal of bone or bone spurs on top of the MTP joint. This surgical procedure can create more room within the foot structure for MTP joint movement, reducing swelling, pain and stiffness.

If you have symptoms of hallux rigidus that are causing you pain, big toe stiffness or your mobility is impacted, contact our medical team at DOCS Health today to schedule your appointment to learn more about treatment options. We offer surgical and non-surgical hallux rigidus treatment at our medical center in Los Angeles.