Stiff Big Toe (Hallux Rigidis/Big Toe Arthritis)

What is it: The base of the Big Toe is vulnerable for the development of arthritis. It produces a stiff and painful big toe which can make walking and other daily activities difficult as well as pain in certain shoes.

Management: Big Toe Arthritis can be treated nonoperatively or operatively. Dr Unsworth-Smith will assess diagnose your arthritis and decide whether surgery is an option for you. Nonoperative management includes pan relieving medication, alterations in foot wear and innersoles.

Surgery depends on symptoms and can include shaving away small portions of bone to allow extra range of motion (Chielectomy) or Fusion (Arthrodesis) of the base of the big toe (1st Metatarsophalangeal Joint). Fusion involves an incision over the big toe. The affected joint is prepared by removing the remaining cartilage and the joint is then held with a plate and screws. The aim of this surgery to produce a painless stiff toe.

Postoperatively: Patients are able to go home on the day of surgery. You will have an ankle block (local anaesthetic to numb the foot) which will help control pain after the surgery. The wound will take approximately 2 weeks to heal. You will be placed into a surgical shoe for 6 weeks after which you will begin transitioning to normal shoe wear.

Return to most activities will be between 6-12 weeks with full recovery 3-6 months.