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Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus services offered in Austin, Lakeway and Cedar Park, TX

Hallux rigidus, hallux limitus or great/big toe arthritis is an arthritic condition of the big toe. If you regularly experience toe pain and limited motion, seek treatment immediately. At Austin Foot & Ankle Institute, in Austin and Bee Cave, Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Pedro E. Cosculluela, MD specializes in hallux rigidus treatment. He offers various techniques, including custom orthotics, injections, and surgery (when necessary). Call the nearest office to learn more about treatment for hallux rigidus today, or make an appointment online.

Hallux Rigidus Q&A

What is hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus is a type of arthritis that affects the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness, making it difficult to wiggle or place weight on your affected toe. In women, it also makes it hard to wear heels.

Without intervention and treatment, hallux rigidus gets progressively worse. There’s no cure, but various measures can reduce swelling and restore mobility.

What are the symptoms of hallux rigidus?

Symptoms of hallux rigidus include:

  • Pain and stiffness in your big toe
  • Pain and stiffness that’s worse in cold or humid weather
  • A swollen or stiff toe joint
  • Bunions
  • Blisters or calluses on the top of the affected toe

As the condition worsens, your toe might stay in a bent position.

What causes hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus occurs because of general wear-and-tear, trauma, and deformity of the big toe. Every time you take a step, your toe joints withstand the weight of your entire upper body. Over the years, these repetitive motions can cause the bones and soft tissues at the front of your feet to change position, resulting in swelling and stiffness.

Other factors that contribute to hallux rigidus include:

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Underlying health problems, like osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory diseases - gout or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Genetics (hallux rigidus runs in families)

If you have pain in your big toe, don’t wait to seek treatment.

How is hallux rigidus diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your health charts and asks about your symptoms, including where the pain occurs, what it feels like, and if certain activities (like standing for long periods) make it worse. Next, they examines your big toe, checking for redness, bruising, and swelling.

Dr. Cosculluela tests your joint’s range of motion. They will carefully move your big toe back and forth and from side to side. Then, they orders a series of X-rays to check for bone abnormalities, like fractures or bone spurs.

How is hallux rigidus treated?

Treatment of hallux rigidus depends on the severity of your symptoms and general health. Your dcotor may recommend:

  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes
  • Limiting your toe movement
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Soaking your feet in warm water
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Custom orthotics

If your pain continues or worsens, your doctor may recommend surgery. During hallux rigidus surgery, your doctor uses special tools to realign the bones at the front of your foot. This process relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and restores your mobility.

Call the nearest Austin Foot & Ankle Institute office to receive treatment for hallux rigidus today, or make an appointment online.

In addition to performing a thorough history and physical examination, we will obtain new radiographs of the foot and/or ankle during your visit. If radiographs have already been done, our physicians will review those radiographs and any additional studies - MRI, CT, bone scans, etc - that are available through our PACS access to local facilities. We also offer durable medical equipment - braces, boots, OTC casts - at the office. We have relationships with local orthotic and prosthetic shops for those who need more specialized bracing and orthotic care. Additional services include diagnostic and therapeutic injections with steroids, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and other stem cell preparations.