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Big Toe Arthritis (Hallux Rigidus)

What is Hallux Rigidus?

Hallux Rigidus s a joint deformity of the big toe, caused by daily wear and tear. Usually there is reduced range and quality of joint motion and a bony lump over the joint.The joint subsequently becomes painful and the lump irritates against shoes. 

What causes it?

The cause of hallux rigidus is often trauma such as stubbing the toe. Changes then occur in the joint over time. 


Stiff soled shoes and insoles can often help. Injections of steroid or natural lubricants can help but may have short-lived effects. Most commonly performed surgery: debridement, cheilectomy or fusion.

Surgery involves either “cleaning up” the joint (debridement) , sometimes with small implants to replace damaged cartilage using Cartiva™ which is a proprietary polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) cryogel device that mimics natural cartilage. In later stages fusion of the big toe joint can provide permanent relief and is ultimately the gold standard treatment for this condition.  The latest technique is IOFIX fusion

Recovery generally takes around 6-8 weeks or 10-12 weeks for fusion (arthrodesis).

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