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Stiff big toe

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Hallux rigidus literally means a stiff big toe.

It is more common in males.

Possible causes of this condition include:

  • osteoarthritis
  • trauma
  • splitting osteochondritis of the first metatarsal head
  • gout or pseudogout


  • structural alterations of the first metatarsophalangeal joint are described as either hallux limitus or hallux rigidus
    • term used depends on the magnitude of available joint motion and the severity of joint degeneration
      • hallux limitus is characterized by restricted sagittal plane motion (primarily dorsiflexion) caused by periarticular osteophytes; whereas hallux rigidus displays an absence of joint motion due to end stage degenerative joint disease and subsequent joint ankylosis
      • although the terms are often used interchangeably, hallux rigidus has been adopted by the World Health Organization in the International Classification of Diseases


  • World Health Organization: International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision; 2007.

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