This disorder can be very troubling and even disabling, since we use the big toe whenever we walk, stoop down, climb up, or even stand. Many patient confuse hallux rigidus with a bunion, which affects the same joint, but they are very different conditions requiring different treatment.
Early signs and symptoms include:
- Pain and stiffness in the big toe during use (walking, standing, bending, etc.).
- Pain and stiffness aggravated by cold, damp weather.
- Difficulty with certain activities (running, squatting).
- Swelling and inflammation around the joint.
- Pain, even during rest.
- Difficulty wearing shoes because bone spurs (overgrowths) develop.
- Dull pain in the hip, knee, or lower back due to changes in the way you walk.
- Limping (in severe cases).
In diagnosing hallux rigidus, the surgeon will examine your feet and move the toe to determine its range of motion. X-rays help determine how much arthritis is present as well as to evaluate any bone spurs or other abnormalities that may have formed.
In many cases, early treatment may prevent or postpone the need for surgery in the future. Treatment for mild or moderate cases of hallux rigidus may include:
- Shoe modifications. Shoes with a large toe box put less pressure on your toe. Stiff or rocker-bottom soles may also be recommended.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices may improve foot function.
- Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Injection therapy. Injections of corticosteroids may reduce inflammation and pain.
- Physical therapy. Ultrasound therapy or other physical modalities may be undertaken to provide temporary relief.
If you think you have hallux rigidus and do not currently see a podiatrist, call our Glastonbury or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Ayman M. Latif, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Foot Deformity Doctor in CT
Podiatrist in Glastonbury and Middletown, CT
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