Just Diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus? Here Are 5 Treatment Options

 Just Diagnosed with Hallux Rigidus? Here Are 5 Treatment Options

Big toe arthritis, or hallux rigidus, is a form of degenerative arthritis located at the base of your big toe. If recently diagnosed, you may worry about the disease's progression, pain, inflammation, and potential negative impact on your daily life.

While the disease can progress, especially when left untreated, there are several ways you can discourage its progression, from wearing shoes that are gentler with your feet to taking medications meant to help the joint fight off inflammation. 

To provide guidance, we asked our expert, Dr. Francine Rhinehart, to outline five treatments available for managing hallux rigidus.

1. Pain relief medications 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are typically used to reduce the inflammation in the big toe, which reduces pain. NSAIDs are typically well-tolerated in the short term; however, long-term use carries risks, including the development of gastrointestinal issues and kidney damage.

2. Corticosteroids injections 

Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and pain and are typically used when other pain medications don't provide relief. While the relief is generally temporary, and you’ll need repeated injections, most people experience a significant reduction in pain and swelling. 

3. Footwear modifications 

Footwear modifications, often overlooked, can significantly alleviate big toe pain and stiffness, such as choosing the right shoes and using orthotics.

Dr. Rhinehart uses custom shoe inserts to provide arch support, heel support, and padding, all of which can make a big difference in your day-to-day life. 

4. Physical therapy 

It's no secret that exercises help our joints, but with arthritis, they’re even more important, as they stabilize the joint, keeping it flexible. For hallux rigidus, you may be given specific strengthening exercises and manual therapy. Manual therapy, which includes massages by a physical therapist, can significantly reduce stiffness.

5. Supartz injections

One way arthritis causes pain and further damage is by attacking the cartilage and narrowing the space between the bones that form a joint. The cartilage is slippery, allowing for smooth movements, but with conditions such as hallux rigidus, the cartilage gets degraded, and bones end up rubbing against each other, causing pain. 

Supartz injections contain hyaluronic acid, which helps coat the bones and provide a cushion similar to cartilage, preventing them from rubbing and causing pain.


When all conservative measures fail, surgery can be employed to remove bone spurs, replace the joint, or fuse the bones to prevent them from rubbing against each other.

Get expert advice for your hallux rigidus 

Any new diagnosis may seem daunting, but in the hands of an experienced professional, there’s no need to worry. Whether your condition is mild or severe, Dr. Rhinehart can provide relief and help you stay active and pain-free.

Call us to schedule an appointment, and halt the progression of your big toe arthritis while finding relief from your symptoms.

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