Hallux rigidus, also known as stiff big toe, is the result of degenerative changes which mainly affects the upper part of the big toe joint. As bone (osteophytes) forms on the top of the joint footwear can become a problem and pain can be felt depending on the degree of arthritis deep inside the joint or only on the top of the joint.
When the prominence on the top of the big toe is the main problem wearing wide comfortable shoes with a spacious toe box can be sufficient. Sometimes a cortisone injection will help to reduce the inflammation in the joint.
If conservative treatment fails to provide sufficient pain relief surgery is indicated. Depending on the degree of arthritis and the pain experienced various surgical options are available. In case of a big bony prominence removing the bone (Cheilectomy) will be appropriate. This can be done open or minimal invasive. When the cartilage defect is in the centre of the joint a “resurfacing” procedure will provide good pain relief. Once the whole joint is worn out, is stiff and causes severe pain a fusion (arthrodesis) will work best.