Big Toe Pain: Hallux Rigidus

Big Toe Pain also known as Hallux rigidus is very common in individuals starting around age 40.

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint that is located at the base of the big toe. When the toe becomes stiff and painful it also becomes increasingly harder to move and bend. Hallux rigidus is actually a form of degenerative arthritis and if it is not addressed will gradually become more painful with time.

It is important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing any pain in your big toe joint. Many times a bunion can be mistaken for this disorder, however, both require very different treatments.

As hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe’s joint range of motion decreases as time goes on. In the early stages, Doctors refer to this disorder as hallux limitus, however; as the joint stiffens more and range of motion gradually decreases, the toe is referred to as a “frozen joint” or “rigidus”.

Limited motion of the big toe caused by hallux rigidus


Symptoms of Hallux rigidus include (but are not limited to):

  • Pain in the big toe during use or activity
  • Stiffness
  • Aggravation by cold, damp weather
  • Decrease or lack of range of motion in the toe joint
  • Swelling and inflammation

When to See a Doctor

The sooner this condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. If you experience any of the symptoms above, make an appointment at one of our Da Vinci Foot and Ankle locations. Our specialist will examine your feet and can discuss both conservative and surgical options. X-rays may be taken to help determine the severity of the joint disease as well as to rule out other abnormalities.

When Is Surgery Needed?

In some cases, surgery is the only way to eliminate or reduce pain. This can only be determined by a foot and ankle surgeon and will only be suggested as a last resort if self-care and management does not alleviate symptoms.

You don’t have to live with pain. Da Vinci Foot and Ankle can help!

CLICK HERE to book your next appointment at Da Vinci Foot and Ankle.

Lake Oconee, GA 706-999-9994