Big Toe Pain: Hallux Rigidus

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

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint that is located at the base of the big toe. When this toe gets stiff and painful it 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. Alot of times bunions can be mistaken for this disorder and both require very different treatments.

Because hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, the toe’s motion decreases as time goes on. In its beginning 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 (doing any activity)
  • Stiffness
  • Aggravation by cold, damp weather
  • Lack of range of motion in the toe
  • Swelling and inflammation

When to See a Doctor

The sooner this condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. It is important that if you experience any of the symptoms above that you make an appointment at one of our Da Vinci Foot and Ankle locations. One of our Doctors will examine your feet and move the toe to determine its range of motion. X-rays may be taken to help determine severity and 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

West Augusta, GA 706-597-0102