Halux Rigidus

hallux-rigidusDegenerative arthritis and stiffness due to bone spurs that affects the MTP joint at the base of the hallux (big toe) is called hallux rigidus or stiff big toe.


  • Pain in the joint when you are active, especially as you push-off on the toes when you walk
  • Swelling around the joint
  • A bump, like a bunion or callus, that develops on the top of the foot
  • Stiffness in the great toe and an inability to bend it up or down

Early treatment of hallux rigidus usually includes the following measures:

  • Custom orthotics to accommodate the rigid joint.
  • Wearing the correct shoes with wide, roomy toe box, rocker stiff sole and avoid high heels.
  • Avoiding high-impact activities, such as jogging.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to help relieve the pain and reduce swelling in your big toe. Your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections into the joint.

If pain and stiffness continue, surgery may be necessary. Shaving the bone spur (cheilectomy) may help relieve the pain and preserve joint motion. Sometimes it may be necessary to cut the bone (osteotomy) is order to realign or shorten the big toe.