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Hallux rigidus - causes & symptoms

Illustration of a hallux rigidus deformity
Hallux rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a specific form of big toe disease, which is characterized in particular by limited mobility of the big toe joint.

What is a hallux rigidus?

The term "Hallux rigidus" is derived from Latin and means “stiff big toe”. With this disease, the big toe joint becomes increasingly immobile and stiff. In contrast to hallux valgus, in which the toe deviates to the side, hallux rigidus is limited to a limited mobility of the joint.

Causes of hallux rigidus:

A hallux rigidus usually develops for the following reasons:

  1. Arthrosis in the big toe joint: The main reason for hallux rigidus is wear and tear of the articular cartilage, which leads to increased stress on the bone.

  2. Injuries: Fractures, sprains or sprains of the big toe joint can lead to post-traumatic osteoarthritis and thus promote hallux rigidus.

  3. Genetic factors: In some cases, a family predisposition may contribute to development.

  4. Rheumatic diseases: Inflammatory joint diseases such as rheumatism can promote the development of hallux rigidus.

Symptoms of hallux rigidus:

Symptoms of hallux rigidus often develop gradually and can include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe joint, especially when running or during prolonged exertion

  • Swelling and redness in the joint area

  • Development of bone growths around the joint

As symptoms can worsen over time, it is important to consult an orthopedic specialist at the first signs. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and maintain the quality of life of those affected.


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