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Hallux Rigidus is a term used to describe a stiff big toe. It is a form of arthritis that occurs when cartilage in the joint that connects your big toe to your foot degenerates. The space in the joint narrows and the toe feels very stiff. As the condition progresses, you may experience pain and inflammation around the joint and it tends to be worse in cold, damp weather. Some people also develop hard lumps and bone spurs on the top of the big toe. 

When people are suffering from Hallux Rigidus, they tend to limp or change their walking patterns and this can cause pain in the ankles, knees, and hips. Many factors increase the chances of developing Hallux Rigidus and often, custom orthotics and supportive footwear are the best options for dealing with it.

What Causes Hallux Rigidus?

Hallux Rigidus can affect anybody but it tends to affect people between the ages of 30 and 60. It is also more common in women than men. Overuse is a common risk factor and people that place a lot of stress on the joint through repetitive movements like squatting, or high-impact activities like running will develop a stiff toe joint. 

Differences in the structure and shape of your foot can also lead to Hallux Rigidus. Certain abnormalities like a long or elevated first metatarsal bone. If somebody else in your family has Hallux Rigidus, you may be more likely to have the same problem because you have inherited their foot shape. 

How To Prevent Hallux Rigidus

There are some simple things you can do to prevent and manage Hallux Rigidus at home. Wearing well-fitted shoes with a stiff rocker sole will stop your toe from bending too much, so you can preserve the cartilage in the joint. Soaking your feet in warm and cold water can also help to relieve the pain. 

However, dealing with problems in the structure of your foot and making sure that you have the right support is key if you want to manage Hallux Rigidus. 

How Can Hallux Rigidus Be Treated?

In severe cases, surgery can be used to treat Hallux Rigidus. There are several procedures designed to resurface or even replace the joint. However, before resorting to surgical procedures, you should consider how custom orthotics can help to manage the problem.

If you have an abnormally shaped foot, standard footwear will not give you the support you need and problems like Hallux Rigidus are made worse. Specifically designed Custom orthotics can provide the support you need and redistribute weight evenly over the foot. This can help prevent many different foot issues, including Hallux Rigidus. 

We start by using state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning tools to map the foot or we skillfully take a cast. We can then design custom orthotics to give support and extra cushioning where you need it. Where Hallux Rigidus is concerned, custom orthotics will be designed to improve the range of motion in the joint and prevent stiffness and pain. 

If you are concerned about stiff joints in your big toe, get in touch with Healthy Steps to learn more about how our custom orthotics can help.