Hallux Rigidus: Natural Treatments
Specializing in foot pathologies, hallux rigidus and its natural treatments are among the treatments offered by surgeon Julien Lopez.
Hallux rigidus is a condition of the forefoot that affects the big toe, known as the "hallux." Primarily affecting men, it is the result of cartilage wear or arthritis of the metatarsophalangeal joint. The cartilage gradually deteriorates over time, leading to stiffness in the forefoot. Reduced joint mobility is secondary to the formation of osteophytes, which are bony outgrowths that develop around the big toe joint. Over time, the worsening of these bony growths can make flexion and extension of the big toe painful, and in some cases, even impossible.
The surgeon, specializing in foot and ankle pathologies, advises effective treatments to alleviate the symptoms of your hallux rigidus. Orthoses, physiotherapy, intra-articular injections, mesotherapy, acupuncture, natural medications – these are the therapeutic tools available to the surgeon and the patient. In case of unsuccessful well-conducted medical treatment and persistent functional discomfort, minimally invasive surgery for your hallux rigidus may be proposed and discussed.
Lack of Treatment for Hallux Rigidus: Complications
In the absence of treatment, arthritis of the big toe tends to worsen, with potential complications affecting the adjacent toes. Pain while walking during the gait cycle sometimes forces the patient to shift their weight to the outer edge of the foot to continue moving without pain. This imbalance can lead to corns, pain, and localized muscle tension in the foot and ankle.
In the case of athletic activities, this degenerative condition may necessitate a complete halt to sports participation for the patient.
Alleviating Hallux Rigidus: What Treatments Are Available?
To relieve the discomfort caused by hallux rigidus, various treatments are available and will be recommended by the specialist in foot pathologies. To guide you toward the most suitable non-surgical treatment, several examinations are conducted and prescribed by the surgeon.
The diagnosis comprises multiple steps. Dr. Julien Lopez conducts a consultation in one of his offices located in Cannes, Nice, or Cap d'Ail. It begins with an interview followed by a clinical examination of the foot.
The specialist in foot and ankle pathologies asks numerous questions concerning potential traumatic history and causal or contributing factors such as:
- Exposure of your foot to repetitive microtraumas during sports activities that involve significant weight-bearing (dance, football, running, etc.).
- Wearing shoes that are too narrow, contributing to the development of arthritis.
- The morphology of your Egyptian foot, which places more pressure on your big toe.
- A recent fracture of your toe, which could weaken the cartilage.
- Previous treatments attempted and their effectiveness.
The analysis of your symptoms is also crucial to understanding your daily pain and directing you toward treatments capable of alleviating it. It's essential to assess:
- The stiffness of your hallux and joint ranges of motion.
- The difficulties caused by the deformation of your metatarsophalangeal joint: fitting into shoes, walking, balance, etc.
- The intensity and nature of the pain experienced in your big toe.
- The functional impact on daily life, work, or sports activities.
Based on your responses, the specialist can assess the impact of hallux rigidus and guide you toward the most appropriate treatments while evaluating their effectiveness.
Complementary imaging examinations are prescribed by the specialist to determine the stage of advancement of your hallux rigidus. A medical ornatural treatment will then be decided upon. There are four stages of arthritis.
The paraclinical examination includes:
- X-rays to check for cartilage space narrowing and to visualize the foot's skeletal structure.
- A CT scan to detect any osteophytes resulting from hallux rigidus.
- An MRI to thoroughly analyze the condition of your cartilage.
- A scintigraphy to precisely locate affected areas.
The consultation with the results allows the surgeon to diagnose the severity and complications of hallux rigidus. If it is moderate, suitable natural treatments may be considered.
Hallux Rigidus Pain: Natural and Medicinal Treatments
To reduce the pain of arthritis of the big toe, natural or medicinal treatments may be recommended by the surgeon, depending on the stage of the condition.
The first step in alleviating your pain is to eliminate exacerbating factors for this condition. The deterioration of cartilage between the bones of your big toe can be slowed by:
- Reducing microtraumas resulting from intense sports activity or weight-bearing activities.
- Choosing shoes that genuinely fit your foot morphology.
- Opting for shoes considered more flexible than high heels.
- Purchasing suitable insoles that reduce friction and associated pain from arthritis.
- Engaging in physiotherapy exercises to increase calf flexibility.
- Hallux rigidus and podiatric treatments: wearing a hallux rigidus orthosis that rests the metatarsophalangeal joint, such as orthoses for big toe arthritis available in pharmacies.
Natural treatments include clay-based therapies, mesotherapy, cryotherapy, supplements containing chondroitin sulfate or other ingredients, as well as homeopathy or acupuncture.
Medicinal treatments may also be considered to reduce the pain associated with the arthritis of your foot.
The intake or injection of certain medications can provide varying degrees of pain relief, some of which may be longer-lasting. Painkillers and anti-inflammatories are often prescribed to treat the arthritis of your big toe. Longer-lasting treatments may also be contemplated.
Intra-articular injections can alleviate hallux rigidus symptoms more sustainably than pain relievers alone. They are typically administered using corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is effective in less severe stages to prevent degradation; it is advisable to undergo an annual injection as a long-term treatment.
If various non-surgical treatments for your hallux rigidus (orthotic devices, injections, appropriate footwear, etc.) prove ineffective, minimally invasive surgical intervention will be discussed by the specialist whenever feasible.