Hallux Rigidus

Treatment for Hallux Rigidus

Capital Orthopaedics provides specialist treatment for all injuries and joint conditions in your feet. With state of the art diagnostics and renowned expertise in physiotherapy and minimally invasive surgery, our team offers fast, efficient and highly effective treatment for foot problems including Hallux Rigidus.

If you have pain and stiffness in your big toe, it could be caused by a condition called hallux rigidus – or arthritis in the big toe joint. Treatment for hallux rigidus can include physiotherapy, injections to reduce inflammation or minor surgery to improve movement in the joint.

The sooner hallux rigidus is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. So if you have any pain, discomfort or reduced flexibility in your big toe, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

To book an appointment for any foot pain or injury, contact leading orthopaedic surgeon Simon Moyes and the Capital Orthopaedics team here.

What is Hallux Rigidus?

The joint at the base of your big toe is the MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint, where the bone of your toe joins to the metatarsal bone in your foot. Every time you take a step this joint bends, and supports over 50% of your body weight as you do so.

If the joint doesn’t function properly, walking, running, playing sports and almost any everyday activity can be difficult – even impossible.

Hallux rigidus is the loss of flexibility in the MTP joint due to arthritis. Your bones are coated in slippery cartilage that enables smooth movement. If the cartilage wears away, the exposed bone surfaces become rough and sometimes the develop bony lumps called bone spurs. This in turn leads to stiffness and pain in the joint.

What are the Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus?

• Pain and stiffness in the joint at the base of your big toe
• Swelling and inflammation around the joint
• Difficulty wearing shoes due to pressure on the joint
You may also develop symptoms in your knees, hips or lower back due to compensating for the lack of mobility in your foot.

What Causes Hallux Rigidus?

Osteoarthritis in your MTP joint can be caused by overuse (particularly if you stoop or squat a lot), an injury (like stubbing your toe) or structural problems with your foot, such as fallen arches or excessive pronation.
Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can also cause hallux rigidus.

How Can Hallux Rigidus be Treated?

Once your condition has been diagnosed by one of our consultant orthopaedic surgeons, using a physical exam and scans including x-rays, CT and MRI scans, the team at Capital Orthopaedics will offer the following treatments.

Non-surgical treatments

  • Orthotics: providing special inserts to put in your shoe to improve your foot function
  • Injection therapy: steroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy: our expert physiotherapists provide ultrasound therapy, manipulation and targeted exercises to improve mobility and relieve symptoms.


There are a number of surgical options available, depending on the severity and extent of your condition. They include:

  • Cheilectomy: removing bone spurs and smoothing rough surfaces through a small cut in the top of your foot. You will need to wear a special boot for two weeks after surgery.
  • Osteotomy: making a cut in the bone (osteotomy) to help with upward movement. Weight will need to be kept off your foot for 3-6 weeks while the bone heals.
  • Arthrodesis / joint fusion: in more severe cases or for very active people, the MTP bone surfaces are trimmed and joined together, positioning the big toe at an upward angle to allow for walking. Shoes with ‘rocker’ soles are usually needed after a joint fusion operation to aid with movement.
  • Arthroplasty: In some cases, the joint can be partially resurfaced with a range of implants.

Book an Appointment with The Capital Orthopaedics Team

The Capital Orthopaedics team is made up of top consultant surgeons, in-house radiologists and highly experienced physiotherapists. Based in three central London locations, we offer state of the art diagnostics, dedicated physiotherapy suites, innovative therapies and the very latest in surgical techniques – all designed to get you back on your feet in the shortest time possible.

For more information or to book an appointment for any foot condition, contact us here.

Other foot conditions we treat

Bunions – painful, bony lumps on the inside of your foot at the base of your big toe. Treated with physiotherapy, orthotics, injections or surgery to relieve pain.

Morton’s Neuroma – nerve damage underneath the ball of your foot, causing a sharp pain like standing on a ballbearing. Treatment includes physiotherapy, shoe inserts to relieve pressure, steroid injection to reduce inflammation or surgery to release the trapped nerve.

Lesser Toe Deformity – changes in the normal anatomy of your toes that result in pain, difficulty walking and structural problems in your foot. They can be treated with orthotics, changes in footwear or surgery to realign the joints.

Metatarsal Fractures – your foot bones can be broken as a result of impact or overuse (stress fractures). Treatment options include wearing a rigid shoe while the bone heals, while displaced bones may require surgery.

Sesamoiditis – inflammation of tendons in the foot. It can be treated with steroid injections, orthotics or surgery to remove the sesamoid bones.

Plantar Fasciitis – inflammation of the fibrous tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes along the sole of your foot, causing pain in your heel. It can be treated with physiotherapy, orthotics, steroid injections, ultrasound tissue repair, and in rare cases, surgery to detach the plantar fascia from the heal bone.


Book an Appointment with an Orthopaedic Specialist

The Capital Orthopaedics team is made up of highly experienced medical professionals – from Mr Simon Moyes, the renowned orthopaedic consultant surgeon, to physicians, nurses, anaesthetists and physiotherapists.
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