Hallux limitus and rigidus are often considered idiopathic, or caused by unknown factors, but certain known factors may contribute to this health problem, too. Possible causes of hallux limitus and rigidus include:
- Faulty foot biomechanics
- Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory diseases
One of the most significant factors contributing to this health problem, however, may be the prolonged use of inappropriate footwear, especially footwear that constricts your toes.
You may experience the following signs and symptoms if you have hallux limitus or rigidus:
- Pain and stiffness when moving your big toe
- Pain in your affected area when walking, running, or squatting
- Pain and stiffness brought on by cold, damp weather
- Swelling and inflammation in or near your first MTP joint
- Pain in your other lower extremity joints as well as your low back
Non-surgical treatment options exist for this health problem and may help reduce your symptoms. Possible conservative care treatment options for your hallux limitus and rigidus include:
- Chiropractic mobilization manipulations.
- Physical therapy (PT): Low-level laser, ultrasound or other physiotherapy modalities may help relieve your symptoms.
- Daily stretches, such as the toe extensor stretch and bunion stretch.
- Customized orthotics to assist with ambulation (gait) and abnormal postural imbalances.
- Shoe therapy: Minimalist shoes with wide a toe box allow your toes to splay properly.
- Topical pain relievers: Natural pain relievers may help reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation.
- Correct Toes: This toe-spacing appliance helps realign your big toe with your first metatarsal.
The extent to which non-surgical treatment (e.g., using Correct Toes and wearing wide-toe-box shoes) can alleviate hallux limitus and hallux rigidus depends on your ability to manually move your big toe in two directions: away from your second toe (abduction) and upward (dorsiflexion). If these movements are significantly restricted, conservative approaches may not help with your condition. However, if some movement remains, the above-mentioned strategies can be useful.