Hallux Rigidus is a problem in which the motion of the great toe joint of the feet are rigid and is commonly associated with osteoarthritis. The large toe joint of the foot is actually quite an important joint in the body as it has got to bend so the leg can move ahead over the foot when walking. If anything prevents the movement at that joint, then forward movement is going to be a lot more difficult and force is going to be added to adjacent joints that have to move more as that joint just isn't flexing adequately. This tends to bring about pain in the big toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. In addition, it causes an unusual wear pattern on the shoes. The main cause of hallux rigidus is usually a previous injury to the joint. After a while this sets up a process of abnormal use that leads to more damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. Finally the restricted movement of the joint is even more limited and the joint becomes rigid with no motion possible.
The best way to manage a hallux rigidus is proper therapy for the original injury with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises to prevent or reduce the developments of the osteoarthritis. If the joint is painful, then medications and injection therapy into the joint can be used for the symptoms. Using a stiffer sole shoe can often be useful as this reduces the demand on the joint to bend. Some footwear may also have a rocker added to them, in order that you pivot over the rocker and don't need to use the joint as much. If these conservative methods are not helpful, then the alternative is surgical. There are several alternatives here. The simplest, if indicated, is to basically cut off some bone of the top of the joint to allow to move more. If that is not feasible, then the joint can be surgically fused to prevent it bending. This kind of fusion deals with the pain due to the osteoarthritis since the joint is unable to flex.