Bodyworks: Hallux Rigidus

How to recognise it, how to overcome it


Posted: 5 June 2000
by Patrick Milroy

Symptoms
Hallux rigidus refers to osteoarthritis of the first MTP joint. You’ll feel pain in the joint, worsened by pushing or pulling the toe up and down.

Signs
Although the joint may be swollen, there is often little to see.

Medical investigations
X-rays will confirm wear of the joint cartilage, which exposes roughened bone surfaces to each other

What else could it be?
Gout.

Self-treatment
You should gently try to mobilise the joint, pulling and pushing it into extension and flexion and holding in discomfort, which will increase your range of painless movement.

Medical treatment
Severe cases which are not helped by short-wave diathermy rely upon surgery to create either a completely stiff or completely free and mechanically useless joint.

Can you run through it?
Running through bunions without podiatric modifications is possible, though you will probably feel some pain, which is likely to progress over the years.

Recovery time
After surgery, you should be able to begin light training after six to eight weeks, and be on the road in 12.


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