Hallux Rigidus describes the osteoarthritis of the big toe joint combined with pain and restricted movement in this joint. These are commonly perceived in sports men and women, particularly in runners. The neutral rolling movement is no longer possible and causes pain, which will cause the patient to involuntarily change their walk or run to avoid pain in the feet. Subsequently this may lead to knee, hip or back pain. In mild cases of Hallux Rigidus custom-made insoles are recommended. In more advanced stages of Hallux Rigidus various surgical treatment options may be considered. The most common option is the fusion of the metatarsophalangeal joint. With this operation, the arthritic pain is eliminated, but it leaves the joint with no mobility at all. The fusion of the metatarsophalangeal joint should only be undertaken as a last resort.
Another option is arthroplasty. After removing the corresponding articular joint surfaces, these will then be replaced with metal endoprostheses. This process was first introduced in the UK in 2008. Since then it has been used with great success and the European Foot Institute has helped in getting this recognised as a successful procedure to treat the Hallux Rigidus. The life span of these endoprostheses ranges from 10 years and upwards. Another option is the relief of arthritic joint surfaces with an implant (made out of Polyvinyl, Alcohol, Hydrogel and Hemirathroplasty) that acts as joint-preserving surgery and achieves very good results. Here, too, a life span of 10 years or more is given which still leaves the patient with the other two options should there be a need for a further operation in the future.