Hallux rigidus is a disorder in which the movement in the great toe joint of the feet are rigid and is usually connected with osteoarthritis. The big toe joint of the foot is actually quite an important joint in the body as it must bend so the leg can progress over the feet when walking. If anything obstructs the motion at that joint, then continuing to move forward will probably be a lot more difficult and strain will probably be placed on other joints that have to bend more as that joint just isn't bending enough. This can result in pain in the great toe joint as well as other joints. In addition, it will cause an excessive wear pattern on the footwear. The chief cause of hallux rigidus is usually a previous injury to the joint. Over time this sets up a process of abnormal use which results in more damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. In due course the limited movement of the joint is even further restricted and the joint will become rigid with no movement at all.
The best way to take care of a Hallux Rigidus is appropriate therapy for the original injury with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises in order to avoid or reduce the developments of the osteoarthritis. If the joint is painful, then medications and injections into the joint may be used for the pain. The use of a firmer sole shoe can often be helpful as this decreases the demand on the joint to bend. Some footwear may also have a rocker added to them, in order that you move over the rocker and do not need to use the joint as much. If these conservative measures are not helpful, then the next step is surgical. There are many options here. The simplest, if indicated, is to just cut off some bone of the top of the joint to permit the joint to move more. If that is not possible, then the joint may be surgically fused to prevent it bending. This kind of fusion addresses the pain from the osteoarthritis as the joint cannot flex.