Hallux Rigidus (Big Toe Arthritis)


Hallux Rigidus is a term used to describe wear and tear (arthritis) in the joint at the base of the big toe.

Over many years, the joint forms new bone, to increase its surface area, which contributes to the bony swelling felt around the joint. This also causes the joint to be stiff.

It is usually symptomatic due to pain on walking, rubbing of the bony swelling against shoes and stiffness of the joint.

Patients with arthritis in the big toe joint usually suffer from 3 different types of pain:

  • The irritation of the swelling caused by the excess bone formation rubbing against foot wear or irritating local structures like tendons and nerves.
  • A sharp pain over the top of the joint due to impingement of the excess bone as the joint moves upward.
  • A deep dull ache within the joint because of the actual rubbing of the worn surfaces of the arthritic joint.


There are three levels of procedures offered for the arthritis of the big toe.

The first tackle the excess bone to relief the local irritation and the impingement pain. This is called a Cheilectomy.

For information on the Cheilectomy procedure click here.


The second level are procedures that replace part or all the joint when the arthritis is more advanced.

For information on the 1st MTPJ Hemiarthroplasty (partial joint replacement) procedure click here.


The third group are procedures to fuse the joint when the arthritis is severe.

For information on the 1st MTPJ Fusion procedure click here.


There are also some recent procedures that aim at implanting a spacer within the joint that can reduce the rubbing of the surfaces and therefore improve the pain. These are still the subject of current research.

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