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Hallux Rigidus (Bunion)

What is it?

Hallux rigidus literally means ‘stiff big toe’. It is a painful degenerative condition, which leads to a progressive loss of movement at the big toe joint.

What are the symptoms?

Patients most often complain of a deep, dull ache within the big toe joint that is worse with activity; there also can be some bony enlargement of the joint.

What causes it?

Some of the common causes of Hallux rigidus include trauma, having flat feet and having a short 1stmetatarsal in relation to the 2nd.

What to do at home

Apply ice for 15 minutes several times a day, wear stiff soled shoes, avoid high heels and footwear that rubs on the joint, avoid any activity that aggravates the symptoms.

When to seek help

If the pain doesn’t settle within a few days of rest and ice or is aggravated by walking/running or wearing shoes.

How is it treated?

Treatment of this condition will very much depend on how advanced the degeneration of the joint is. In the earlier stages where movement is painful but not terribly limited; insoles, rest, ice and joint mobilisation to maintain joint mobility. In the more advanced stages of the condition it may not be possible to maintain the joint mobility and we may look to limit joint movement to allow for pain free walking/running.


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