Advanced Foot & Ankle Institute of Georgia

3535 Roswell Rd,Suite 54, Marietta, GA 30062

Advanced Foot & Ankle Institute Of Georgia

Big Toe pain: Hallux Rigidus

Big Toe pain: Hallux Rigidus
Meet Dr. Fui Dawson

Hallux Rigidus or stiff big toe usually occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and

60. The exact cause of what is essentially arthritis of the big toe is unknown. Our Atlanta

podiatrist has experience in treating all conditions of the foot and ankle. If you have big toe pain

give us a call immediately. The condition is easier to treat early, before bone spurs develop.

Common Symptoms

  • Walking is often painful or difficult with Hallux Rigidus. That’s because the condition

interferes with up and down movement of the toe. People suffering with arthritis in the

big toe may try to offset the pain by walking on the outside of the foot.

  • Swelling in the big toe and stiffness in the joint.
  •  In some cases a bump may develop on the top of the joint.
  • Hallux Rigidus is more common in women.



Often a physical exam is all that is required to diagnose Hallux Rigidus. Our Atlanta podiatrist

will manipulate your big toe to determine the range of motion possible before pain is

experienced. We will also visually examine your foot for bone spurs. In some cases, imaging

may be used to determine the extent of degeneration in the joint as well as the location of bone


Our Atlanta podiatrist can help

Again, Hallux Rigidus is best treated early so it is important to schedule an appointment as soon

as you begin to experience toe pain with walking or other kinds of activity. Once we diagnose

the condition we can work with you to determine the best individualized treatment option. Some

options include:

Pain management

  • Over the counter medications such as Aleve can reduce swelling and pain. You may also

opt for ice packs.

  • Contrast foot soaking can also bring temporary relief. Move the affected foot between a

bucket of hot and cold water. Keep your foot in each bucket for about 30 seconds ending

with the bucket of cold water. Continue for three to five minutes.

These strategies bring temporary relief but will not remedy the problem. Surgical options


  • Cheilectomy – this procedure is advised for early stage Hallux Rigidus. Our Atlanta

podiatrist will carefully shave the bone spur above your metatarsal. This procedure has

the advantage of saving your joint and preserving the most range of motion. You can

expect long-term pain relief after a relatively brief recovery period.

  • Arthrodesis – this procedure is indicated in more advanced conditions of Hallux Rigidus.

Our Atlanta podiatrist will bring relief by fusing the bones together. Although you will

not be able to move the big toe post-surgery you can expect permanent pain relief after an

extended recovery period.

  • Arthroplasty – this procedure calls for joint replacement. Although range of motion is

preserved this option is usually reserved for people with few functional demands of their

feet. Movement of the big toe is preserved but results are not as reliable as with


Hallux Rigidus is a common problem of the foot, but it is treatable. During your consultation be

sure to share all of your concerns as well as goals for post-surgery functionality with our Atlanta

podiatrist. We want to work with you to get as close to those goals as possible. Let us use our

experience to relieve your big toe pain and get you back on your feet. Visit highly experienced podiatrist in Marietta at the Advanced Foot and Ankle Institute of Georgia. Contact us now.

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