Hallux Rigidus: A tough nut to crack!

In 1977, Root, Orien and Weed, defined the term hallux limitus as “the deformity of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint in which the base of the proximal phalanx of the hallux is subluxed plantarly upon the 1st metatarsophalangeal head”.  

In describing this condition, they purported that the articular surface of the proximal phalanx would lose its ability to freely glide over the condylar surface of the 1st metatarsophalangeal head, and as such would “jam” against the 1st metatarsophalangeal head and be unable to move through its full range of dorsiflexion.

This loss of function would eventually lead to degenerative joint changes, including bony proliferation at the dorsal aspect of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint articular surface.  

Eventually, the entire articular surface of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint may become involved resulting in a generalised degenerative arthrosis.  As the joint changes advance, plain x-rays will demonstrate narrow joint spaces, subchondral sclerosis and gross dorsal osteophytic change. Eventually, the joint may become completely ankylosed.. read on to find out more.. 

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical

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