Hallux Limitus

Hallux Limitus

Hallux limitus is osteoarthritis of the big toe joint. Over time, the cartilage in the joint wears away resulting in the bones in the joint rubbing together which can cause pain. The condition will gradually get worse however the rate at which this occurs can differ between individuals. As the condition progresses, the body’s response is to have further bone grow at the end of the two joint surfaces resulting in less joint space and subsequently limiting the articulation of the joint to the point that no movement can occur (hallux rigidus).

Common Causes

As with other osteoarthritis the exact cause is often unknown, however the following have been known to cause hallux limitus:

  • Specific injury to the big toe joint such as fractures
  • Wearing shoes with high heels
  • Poor foot function
  • Conditions that effect cartilage formation

                                Common Signs & Symptoms

                                • Bony lump on the top of your big toe
                                • Trouble flexing the big toe
                                • Pain on top of the joint with possible numbness

                                                            Condition Management

                                                            • Seek a medical assessment ideally from a podiatrist who will be able to physically examine the big toe and have an x-ray to understand the stage of the condition and the best possible treatment option
                                                            • Conservative treatments may be beneficial for early stages of the condition, such as the use of orthotic insoles
                                                            • A podiatrist can help look at your footwear and advise on suitable alternatives
                                                            • If your condition is at an advanced stage, then surgery may be required. There are different options that are available, all with the aim of restoring movement to the joint and freeing up the joint space

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