Hallux Rigidus is a disorder that affects the big toe. It is characterized by pain and stiffness in the big toe. The term “Hallux” refers to the big toe, while “rigidus” means that the toe has become rigid and cannot be moved.
The disorder impairs one’s movement to varying degrees. It is only when we are affected with the disease that we realize how helpful the big toe was in walking, in stooping down, in climbing up, or even standing straight. Pain within the big toe is found to be mostly due to this disorder.
Specifically, the joint that is located at the very base of the big toe gets affected by Hallux rigidus.
Gradually, the pain in the toe increases in intensity and the person finds it difficult even to bend the toe forward. Medically, this disorder is found to be a mode of degenerative arthritis that is characterized by the gradual wearing out of the cartilage within the different body joints.
Hallux rigidus is considered to be a progressive disease since the motion of the toes gets gradually impaired.
During the early stages of the disorder, the affected person will be able to move his toe at least in a limited manner.
This stage of the diseases is known in medical terms as “hallux limitus.” But, with the passage of time, the movement potential of the toe is greatly decreased and reaches the final stage of stiffness.
The toe becomes fully stiffened as the stage is referred to as “frozen joint stage”.
Certain early signs and symptoms are found, the extent of which varies from one person to another.
In most cases, as the affected person crosses the “hallux limitus” stage, he is found to undergo sudden pain and stiffness as he walks or even when he simply bends the big toe.
The stiffness and discomfort is found to get aggravated by cold and damp weather. Swelling and inflammation around the affected toe joint is also found.