Hallux rigidus is the technical name for a stiff (rigidus) big toe (hallux) joint. It occurs when the joint does not move and is usually painful. The most common cause of the condition is osteoarthritis; in fact, some people use the term hallux rigidus to mean osteoarthritis, but it is not technically correct. Trauma or overuse are the most common causes of the osteoarthritis that causes the condition. Not only is the osteoarthritis painful, but the limited range of motion in the joint causes changes elsewhere in the gait that can be painful in other places.
The treatment of hallux rigidus can be challenging as it can not be fixed. You can not make osteoarthritis go away. The approach varies from person to person, but often the joint has to be splinted to help with the pain. Medication can also help. A rocker under the sole of the shoe can help with the gait problems that get created by this. Physical therapy can also often help. If done of that helps, then surgery can be carries out to totally fuse the gait or replace the joint surfaces with a spacer.