About Hallux Rigidus

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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What is Hallux Rigidus?

The most common site of arthritis in the foot is at the base of the big toe. This joint is called the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP joint. It’s important because it has to bend every time you take a step. In the MTP joint, as in any joint, the ends of the bones are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear-and-tear or injury damage the articular cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. A bone spur, or overgrowth, may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as it needs to when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe, or hallux rigidus.

Common Causes:

  • Develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years
  • May result from an injury
  • Differences in foot anatomy

Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus may include:

  • 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 a callus, that develops on the top of the foot
  • Stiffness in the great toe and an inability to bend it up or down

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms seek treatment by making an appointment with Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) foot specialist.

When you arrive for your initial consultation, Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) foot specialist will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing a Hallux Rigidus, the OPA specialist will provide:

  • A medical, injury, and symptom history review
  • A physical examination
  • Multiple view x-rays

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options are commonly used to treat hallux rigidus. A treatment plan usually consists of multiple treatment options:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Oral and topical medications that decrease inflammation and pain.

Supportive Shoes and Orthotics

Take the pressure off the toe.

Change in Footwear

Wearing a shoe with a large toe box will reduce the pressure on the toe

Ice Packs or Contrast Baths

Alternating cold and hot water

Surgery may be recommended to treat hallux rigidus that disrupt the integrity/anatomy of the toe. There are three types of surgery that the OPA foot specialist may perform depending on the condition severity:

  • Cheilectomy (kI-lek’-toe-me). This surgery is usually recommended when damage is mild or moderate.
  • Arthrodesis (are-throw-dee’-sis). Fusing the bones together (arthrodesis) is often recommended.
  • Arthroplasty (are-throw-plas‘-tee) . Older patients who place few functional demands on the feet may be candidates for joint replacement surgery.

At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship Trained Foot Specialists are experts in diagnosing and hallux rigidus.

If you are experiencing foot pain, contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists that are conveniently located in Anchorage, and Wasilla, AK.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Foot & Ankle Team

(click a provider to view profile)

Deryk Anderson, DO

Orthopedic Specialist

Eugene Chang, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Tucker Drury, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Greg Schweiger, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.

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