Hallux limitus/rigidness also known as “turf toe” is a common arthritic condition affecting the great toe joint. The cartilage of the great toe becomes eroded, leading to limitation of motion and eventual rigidity. Most patients will complain of pain and stiffness in their big toe, especially after sports, wearing high heels, or daily activity. Causes of turf toe range from a long first metatarsal, prior traumatic injury, elevated first metatarsal, previous surgery, or family history. It is very important to determine what exactly is causing the arthritic condition when treating turf toe otherwise the treatment will not be successful.
Conservative care in treating turf toe ranges from stiff-soled shoes, orthotics, cortisone injections, and icing. Once pain is present daily and your activities are limited, surgery should be considered. Surgical treatment is varied, but it needs to be aimed at removing the deforming force on the great toe joint and what stage of arthritis is present in the great toe joint. It’s important to see a doctor who doesn’t do one surgery for every bunion because each patient is so specialized that doing the wrong procedure could hurt their results.