Treating Hallux Rigidus
Tuesday, 5 January 2016 | Admin
If you’ve found your big toe not acting as well as it once did, you may be suffering from Hallux Rigidus, also known as arthritis of the big toe joint. The condition is unlikely to come as a surprise as it is preceded by Hallux Limitus, neither should you let it worry you to any great degree – it is the second most common arthritic condition of the foot after bunions.
Big Toe Treatment
Treating Hallux Rigidus uses a range of different methods: some surgical, some not, some which work for some people, and some which work for others - as with many foot conditions, treatment depends on the individual.
Non-surgical approaches are usually sufficient enough to manage your condition in its early stages. Anti-inflammatory medication as well as other self-help methods can help control the swelling and inflammation that may appear around your toe, and several changes to footwear and daily routine can also help lessen the symptoms.
Footwear should always fit comfortably, shoes with a large toe box will prevent the joint from being squashed, and high heels and tight-fitting shoes should be avoided. As it is common to develop Bone Spurs, shoes should offer room above as well as around the toe.
Heat and cold can both help relieve the pain of an arthritic toe joint, this can consist of store-bought heat packs and cooling gels or a bag of frozen peas and a heated flannel. Contrast baths are an easy two-in-one method. Simply get two containers large enough to hold your foot, fill one with water as warm as you can stand, and the other with water as cold as you can tolerate. Place your feet in one for 30 seconds before transferring it to the other, ending on cold. This will promote blood flow to the area without encouraging further swelling.
Toes and Insoles
We stock a range of insoles for Hallux Rigidus to help you find your perfect fit. Helping to absorb shock and distribute weight evenly across the foot, an insole can help prevent your big toe joint from being put any more pressure than necessary.
The RSL Steeper Normal Support Hallux Rigidus Insoles have been specifically designed to help feet with this condition enjoy a greater level of comfort. An inner shell lines the area of the joint for responsive shock absorption, and its low profile design allows it to fit into almost any footwear. Available in three different arch profiles – high, medium and low – to give a perfect fit, and specifically designed for male or female feet, these insoles are an essential source of pain relief for any Hallux Rigidus-afflicted feet.
While insoles, self-help and good shoes can help abate some of the nastier symptoms of Hallux Rigidus, they can’t stop the condition from progressing, and in later stages surgery may become the best option. Three types of surgical procedure are generally used to correct Hallux Rigidus.
Cheilectomy is often selected for mild cases of Hallux Rigidus as it does not require direct surgery on the joint itself. Instead it removes any bone spurs, and sometimes a portion of the bone to allow more room for the joint to move and long-term pain relief.
More serious cases of the condition may require a procedure called Arthrodesis, where the damaged joint cartilage is simply removed altogether. The two bones of the big two are then held together with plates or screws allowing them to fuse. This ultimately provides total and permanent relief from the condition, with the obvious downside being an equally as permanent restriction in the movement of your big toe, which can also restrict your footwear options concerning particularly lofty high heels.
Arthroplasty is reserved for the most serious of cases and involves the joint being replaced. During the procedure, the damaged joint is removed and soft tissue from the foot is put in its place. While this will result in some loss of motion, it may be considered a good alternative to bone fusion in older patients. Results can be unpredictable and are not as reliable as Arthrodesis, but for advanced stages of Hallux Rigidus is a means of keeping some range of motion while removing the source of pain in the big toe joint.
Whether you're just noticing the symptoms of Hallux Rigidus, or are recovering from surgical treatment, our insoles can help keep your feet as comfortable as supported as possible. Visit our Insoles for Hallux Rigidus to find the perfect insole for you.