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 arthroplastic. After removing the corresponding articular joint surfaces, these will then be replaced with metal endoprostheses. This procedure will only allow a fusion should the arthritis progress. The most modern and in our opinion best 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. The implant has a life span of 10 years or more which still leaves the patient with the other two options should there be a need for a further operation in the future. This method was first introduced in the UK in 2008 and in Germany in 2007. 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. Most private insurance companies cover the costs of this procedure.and achieves very good results.