Hallux Limitus is a decrease in the range of motion of the big toe joint. This decrease in motion is most commonly caused from a genetic disorder where the 1st metatarsal (the long bone before the big toe) is elevated upon weight bearing and causes the big toe to jam into the metatarsal. Over many years this constant jamming rubs the ends of the bones and forms a bone spur on the top of the big toe joint. Once enough damage to the bone has occurred, the shock absorbing function of the joint is lost and the pain begins. Also once the spur becomes large enough the nerve in the area begins to rub over the spur and causes pain most often when shoes are worn.
Diagnosis is made by obtaining x-rays of the feet and identifying the dorsal spur and a decrease in the joint space. Also range of motion is performed to see if at least 40 degrees of dorsiflexion is obtained. Along with palpation of the big toe joint which induces pain.
Hallux Limitus is a decrease in the range of motion of the joint and hallux rigidus is a complete loss of motion in the joint.
Once the diagnosis is made conservative treatment may include hard rigid orthotics to limit the motion of the required movement of the big toe joint, wider shoes and /or padding. Surgical corrections consists of either a joint saving procedure which is performed for the hallux limitus, most commonly called a cheilectomy or a total joint replacement is performed to correct the hallux rigidus.
A lot of surgeons like to recommend a fusion of the big toe joint. At Mofas we do not recommend a fusion since this causes your walking to be altered and can lead to knee and hip pain over time. With our procedures you are able to bear weight immediately after surgery unlike the fusions that require a non weight bearing status for 4-6 weeks.