Rigid Toe (Hallux Rigidus )
Hallux rigidus is a condition where the big toe becomes stiff and unable to move up or down. As a result, walking becomes harder and harder – and painful. There may be swelling and a callus or bunion may form. The callus may form on top of the big toe because the inflamed toe is rubbing against the top of the shoe. Also, a callus may form on other toes as the person starts to shift their weight to the outside of the foot just to make it easier to walk with an inflamed big toe. The joint most affected is the joint between the part of the big toe closest to the foot and the long bone of the big toe found in the mid foot. This joint is called the metatarsophalangeal joint. This condition most commonly afflicts people after the age of 30. Cause Experts still don’t understand what causes hallux rigidis. It may be due to a previous big toe injury that damages the cartilage or faulty biomechanics of the foot. Bunion sufferers report that wearing certain pairs of shoes result in greater stiffness of this same joint, so it is possible that footwear may contribute to the development of hallux rigidus. Treatment and Prevention Since the big toe joint is inflamed in this disorder, self-treatment with ice is a good way to decrease inflammation and pain. Wearing cushioned arch supports or a sensitive foot insole can only help the condition and lessen the pain.