Hallux Limitus & Hallux Rigidus – What is it?

HalluxLimitusHaluxRigidus1-2Hallux Limitus & Rigidus is osteoarthritis of the big toe joint. The joint affected is the metatarsophalangeal joint or MTPJ. Every time  you take a step this joint has to bend, and if it starts to stiffen up walking can become difficult and painful.

Hallux Limitus is a term used to describe loss of movement in the MTPJ. Hallux Rigidus is generally considered the end stage of Hallux Limitus where the big toe movement is greatly restricted or lost all together.

The ends of the bones in the joint are covered with smooth articular cartilage, but  wear and tear and injury can erode the cartilage and then the two bony ends grind together, which leads to an overgrowth of bone reducing the bend the toe needs when walking. This stiffness in the big toe joint is called Hallux Rigidus.


Hallux Rigidus can occur due to injury, such as stubbing the toe or playing football and  ill fitting footwear

It can be due to abnormal foot shape that may increase stress on the joint.


Rheumatoid arthritis, gout or other inflammatory diseases


Pain in the joint when walking or playing sport.

Swelling and redness around the joint

Stiffness in the big toe preventing bending upwards and downwards

A bump or swelling on top of the joint


Specially made orthotics (insoles) to stop the toe bending when walking, which relieves the pain in the early stages, as well as anti-inflammatory tablets.

In later more severe stages there are various surgical options.

See your podiatrist for a consultation if you suffer from any of the above.