Skip to main content


Orthopedic Specialists -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic Specialists

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Palm Harbor, FL

Hallux Rigidus (Big Toe Arthritis) Q & A

service image

What is hallux rigidus?

Hallux rigidus is a degenerative arthritis-like condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the big toe. It usually occurs on the top of the joint and gets worse over time. A large bone spur can develop, as well. 

Is this a progressive condition?

This condition is considered degenerative. In its mildest state, it is known as hallux limitus. Without medical intervention, it may progress to the point that the big toe joint is immobile. Hallux rigidus can cause pain in other areas of the foot when people alter their gait to ease big toe pain.   

What causes big toe arthritis?

There are many causes, from an inherited foot abnormality to an overuse injury, a disease like gout, or by walking a particular way. The condition is aggravated by activities that encourage excessive upward bending of the big toe joint, such as long-distance running or uphill walking.

How is hallux rigidus diagnosed?

The board certified and fellowship-trained doctors at Orthopedic Specialists will carefully evaluate your toe. X-rays can help identify arthritic changes within the joint to confirm the diagnosis. 

How is this hallux rigidus treated? 

Most cases of toe arthritis can be treated by limiting toe motion with stiffer shoes or insoles, wearing roomier shoes to decrease irritation, and taking anti-inflammatory medications.  Injections can provide short-term relief, but repeated shots are generally not recommended. 

Surgical treatment is only considered when conservative measures have failed.  The main types of treatment are bone spur removal, fusion of the big toe joint, and joint replacement.

The experienced doctors at Orthopedic Specialists have the expertise you need to treat hallux rigidus and all foot and ankle bone conditions. Schedule an evaluation today.  

What we offer