Hallux rigidus (Arthritis in toes)

Getting you back on your feet again

Pain while walking? Problems rolling from heel to toe? Limited mobility? If every step is agony, a degenerative disorder (arthritis) in the big toe joint may be the cause. Arthritis makes your big toe stiff and causes pain in your foot.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic are highly experienced in treating foot complaints. After receiving an accurate diagnosis, you will get the right treatment from us.

Causes & symptoms

Toe arthritis – what is it?

Arthritis of the big toe joint (Hallux rigidus) occurs due to joint degeneration. This leads to bony outgrowths, often on top of the joint, as well as a narrowing of the joint space. The first sign of toe arthritis is often pain in the joint, combined with reduced mobility.

Causes: how does Hallux rigidus occur?

Typically, joint degeneration is a disorder that occurs in the later stages of life. But young people can also be affected, for example, after injuries. Studies have also shown that arthritis can be inherited. Many patients report their mother or father experiencing similar changes.

Symptoms: These are the symptoms of Hallux rigidus

A stiff toe severely limits movement, mainly in the instep direction. Bony outgrowths will cause you pain, particularly while wearing closed shoes. Swelling or reddening may occur. Those affected often also try to go easy on their big toe joint without realising, and roll their foot over the outstep. But your foot isn’t built for this type of strain, and reacts with pain.


Diagnosis: How we determine toe arthritis

To achieve a diagnosis, our specialists thoroughly examine your joint. This also involves X-raying your foot.

X-ray images clearly demonstrate Hallux rigidus

For an accurate diagnosis, we also capture X-ray images of your foot under stress. In these X-ray images, we can see how much your joint space has narrowed. Bony outgrowths can also be observed easily. If we suspect any rheumatic disorders or gout based on these X-ray images, we also conduct a blood test in our labs.

Clinical examination of Hallux rigidus

During the examination, a bony upward bulging of the joint will be observed. This is often reddened due to it rubbing against the shoe. Sometimes, an inflammatory bursa may have formed as well. In the early stages, only forceful movements of your toes in the instep direction will be painful. In the later stages, you will feel pain during all movements.