This disorder can be extremely troubling and disabling as the big toe absorbs most of the pressure while walking, stooping down, climbing up or while standing. Hallux rigidus is a progressive condition hence the toe’s motion decreases as time goes on. It is more common in women.
- Pain and tightness in the big toe
- Joint swelling and inflammation
- Difficulty in wearing shoes due to bone spurs or overgrowths
- Pain in the hip, knee or lower back
- Limping and pain even during rest
- A bump on top of the foot
- The common causes of hallux rigidus are faulty function and structural abnormalities of the foot that may cause osteoarthritis in the big toe joint. This kind of arthritis occurs due to “wear and tear” or the defects that change the way in which foot and big toe functions. Generally people with fallen arches or excessive pronation of the ankles are at higher risk for developing hallux rigidus.
- Hallux rigidus may run in the family and is a result of inheriting a foot type that is prone to developing this condition.
- Hallux rigidus is also associated with over engaging in physical activities or jobs that increase the stress on the big toe.
- Hallux rigidus can also result from an injury such as stubbing the toe.
- Another cause of hallux rigidus is numerous inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis, osteoarthritis or gout.
Some causes such as age, family history and gender cannot be controlled. There are a few health habits that can be changed to prevent the risk of developing painful joints. These involves exercising, eating a healthy diet and prevent other diseases too.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy polyunsaturated fat have a number of health benefits and may reduce inflammation in the body. Those who consume omega 3 fatty acid regularly may be at lower risk of developing hallux rigid.
Weight monitoring is also helpful. The knees have to support the body weight. Extra weight increases the pressure on the joints and can create some type of degenerative arthritis. Overweight people are at higher risk of getting degenerative arthritis and hence hallux rigid. Maintain the weight into a healthier range.
Exercise not only takes the stress of excess weight off your joints. It also strengthens the muscles around the joints, which protects them from wear and tear. Opt for alternate aerobic activities such as walking or swimming or stretching with strengthening exercises to maintain your flexibility and range of motion.
Avoid Injury since the joints can start to wear out as time passes. Injury to joints can damage the cartilage in the knee and cause it to wear out more quickly. To avoid injury, use the proper safety equipment while playing sports and learn the correct exercise techniques.
To check the vitamin D levels is a necessary move for arthritis prevention. Those who have adequate levels of vitamin D have less progression of degenerative arthritis. Adequate levels of vitamin D probably outweigh the risks of hallux rigid.
Stay hydrated to prevent hallux rigidus. The cartilage in the joints is made up mostly of water, which is what makes it a cushion for the joints. In dehydrated body, water gets sucked out of the cartilage and it’s more easily damaged by wear and tear. When the cartilage discs lose moisture or water and get dried out, that increases pain. Keep cartilage healthy by drinking 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day.
The best preventive measure for hallux rigidus or joint pain is to maintain a proper diet with complex carbohydrates and low salt, low sugar, fat, and protein to keep the joints strong. Try to intake the fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C since it will reduce the risk of developing the inflammation and joint pain.
Consume the green tea which helps in preventing the degenerative arthritis damage by reducing the inflammation and slows down the cartilage breakdown. A substance called catechins helps in reducing the degradation of cartilage and polyphenols reduces the inflammation of the joints. Therapies such as moist heat increases blood flow and flexibility in the joint. Cold therapy such as cold packs relieves inflammation.