Hallux limitus or hallux rigidus refers to the symptomatic big toe joint in the foot. Symptoms include pain and decreased or limited range of motion of the joint which may cause difficulty in walking, physical activity, and alter one’s gait. These symptoms may develop over time with or without an injury. Patients usually notice enlargement of the big toe joint. If you have noticed such symptoms, it is a good idea to consult with a podiatric surgeon for an evaluation and assessment. Clinical and radiograph examination can reveal the extent of the pathology, ie arthritic and degenerative changes of the joint.
There are 3 factors to consider when planning treatment:
- Range of Motion (ROM) of the joint
- Arthritic or degenerative changes of the joint
- Level of pain in the joint
Hallux limitus or hallux rigidus can be classified based on clinical findings, radiographical findings (x-rays), and factors involved. One’s condition can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe which can provide a road map towards treatment. Basically there 3 types of procedures available to address hallux limitus or hallux rigidus: total joint arthroplasty, arthrodesis, and joint reconstructive surgery with osteotomy.
Total joint arthroplasty and arthrodesis are considered joint destructive procedures where the arthritic joint is either replaced with a total joint implant or entirely fused. A reconstructive procedure on the other hand preserves the joint and the condition is addressed via a decompression osteotomy, the joint is released of its intrinsic compression and joint realigned for better functioning.
If you feel you may have hallux limitus/rigidus and would like to have an evaluation please call our office for an appointment and consultation.