Hallux rigidus is a condition of the feet that can significantly decrease mobility in one’s big toe joint. Pain and stiffness are common symptoms, as well as difficulty bending upwards. It affects adults aged 30 to 60 most often, but those with arthritis or overweight issues will be especially vulnerable to this disorder. The condition is caused by cartilage degeneration on the top of the metatarsophalangeal joint. As the cartilage wears away, bone spurs form, limiting further motion in the joint. If left untreated, hallux rigidus can lead to arthritis of the big toe and even a complete loss of movement due to the permanent fusion of the joint. Symptoms include pain in the ball of your foot when you walk or run, difficulty bending your big toe up towards your shin, swelling over your big toe’s joint, redness around your toes from inflamed tissue, and an increase in the size of bony bumps on top of your big toe’s joint. For those dealing with hallux rigidus, treatment approaches vary depending on the severity of the condition. Seeking relief might involve changing footwear habits to incorporate wider shoes and orthotic inserts for greater comfort, as well as physical therapy exercises targeting affected joints to boost strength and flexibility. If these measures aren’t enough, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended by physicians and podiatrists, which may ease the pain while reducing inflammation. In some cases, surgery could be necessary if bone spurs have formed or bones near impacted areas must be realigned surgically.
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