Hallux Rigidus (Arthritis)

Pain in the foot can be caused by arthritis. When arthritis pain affects the big toe joint, this is known as hallux rigidus. In patients with hallux rigidus, pain very often begins on the upper part of the big toe joint with swelling gradually developing and increasing stiffness. The reason for pain is a degeneration and loss of cartilage within the great toe joint. Walking becomes painful and very often the patient changes its way to walk, so that other parts of the foot will be overloaded.

As for other foot deformities like hallux valgus an x-ray will show the degree of your hallux rigidus and will help me to advise you on an individualized treatment option.

Conservative non-surgical treatment consists in wearing special insoles, applying antiinflammatory medication and physiotherapy. I will advise you on which shoes to wear.


In case conservative treatment does not help surgery will be advised to help you live a normal life again. Depending on the degree of the hallux rigidus and arthritis I apply different surgical procedures:


In case of mild hallux rigidus and in case the osseous spur on top of your joint causes the pain I will advise you on taking away this spur. This procedure is called “cheilectomy“ and will allow better mobility of your joint. Additionally I might advise you to perform a Moberg osteotomy where a little wedge is taken out of the big toe bone. This allows further gain of mobility.

In case of a combination of a hallux valgus and hallux rigidus I will perform an Austin osteotmy and additionally take away the dorsal bone spur.


For end stage arthritis where motion of the big toe joint is lost I perform a fusion of the big toe joint. After surgery you are able to walk in a special hallux shoe which you will wear for 6 weeks. Fusion in these cases is a very good possibility to take away the arthritis pain and enable you to live a pain-free life again.