Hallux Rigidus is a condition in when the motion at the big toe or hallux joint of the foot is rigid and is usually connected with osteoarthritis. The big toe joint of the feet are actually quite an important joint in the body as it needs to flex so the leg can progress over the feet when walking. If something hinders the motion at that joint, then forward movement is going to be a lot harder and strain could be added to other joints that have to bend more as that joint just isn't bending properly. This could result in pain in the great toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. In addition, it will cause an excessive wear pattern on the shoes. The most important cause of hallux rigidus is commonly a previous injury to the joint. After a while this sets up a process of abnormal use that leads to further damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. Subsequently the limited motion of the joint is even further restricted and the joint becomes rigid with no motion possible.
The simplest way to manage Hallux Rigidus is appropriate therapy for the original trauma with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises in order to avoid or slow down the developments of the osteoarthritis. When the joint is painful, then medications and injection therapy into the joint can be used for the pain. The use of a firmer sole footwear is often helpful as this decreases the demand on the joint to bend. Some footwear can also have a rocker added to them, so that you will pivot over the rocker and don't need to use the joint as much. If these conservative measures are not helpful, then the alternative is surgical. There are various options here. The easiest, if indicated, is to simply cut off some bone of the top of the joint to allow to move more. If that's not feasible, then the joint can be surgically fused to prevent it flexing. This kind of fusion addresses the pain from the osteoarthritis since the joint is unable to flex.