Hallux rigidus is a condition in when the movement in the big toe joint of the feet are rigid and is often associated with osteoarthritis. The great toe joint of the foot is actually quite an important joint in the body as it has got to flex so the leg can move forward over the foot when walking. If something obstructs the movement at that joint, then advancing is going to be a lot harder and strain could be added to adjacent joints that have to move more as that joint just isn't bending adequately. This can result in pain in the great toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. In addition, it will cause an excessive wear pattern on the footwear. The most important cause of hallux rigidus is usually a prior injury to the joint. After a while this sets up a process of abnormal use that results in more damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. Eventually the restricted motion of the joint is even further limited and the joint will become rigid with no movement possible.
The best way to manage a Hallux Rigidus is appropriate therapy for the original trauma with good rehabilitation and the use of exercises to prevent or slow down the developments of the osteoarthritis. When the joint is painful, then drugs and injections into the joint can be used for the pain. Using a stiffer sole footwear can often be helpful as this decreases the demand on the joint to bend. Some shoes can also have a rocker added to them, so that you pivot over the rocker and don't need to use the joint as much. If these conservative methods aren't helpful, then the next thing is surgical. There are many options here. The easiest, if indicated, is to basically get rid of some bone of the top of the joint to allow the joint to bend more. If that is not possible, then the joint can be surgically fused to prevent it moving. This kind of fusion addresses the symptoms from the osteoarthritis as the joint is unable to move.