‘Hallux rigidus‘ is typically a painful stiff big toe joint that is caused by osteoarthritis in the joint. Walking is painful in that big toe joint (the ‘hallux’ joint) and becasue of the osteoarthritis in that joint it becomes stiffer and does not move as well (the ‘rigidus’). We need and use that big toe joint a lot when we move forward over the foot when walking. If movement of the joint is painful to walk, then a logical way to treat the problem is to stop or restrict the movement of the joint.
One way to restrict the motion of that big toe joint is to strap it. The tape can help reduce the motion, but is only ever very useful for a short term measure. You could get rockers added to the outside of your shoe, however they are visible and if they don’t help the shoe might be ruined. Another way is to use very stiff shoes that are rigid across the forefoot. If the shoe is more rigid, then this prevents the joints across the ball of the foot from bending as much.
Another way is to stiffen up the shoe is with the rigid carbon plate. These are full length insoles made of very rigid carbon fibre that are only 1.2mm thick and only extend under the big toe joint (called a Morton’s extension), allowing the joints for the other toes to move freely (there are carbon fibre plates that are full length that do go under the lessor toes if they do need to be made stiffer as well).
The research evidence on these rigid carbon plate insoles is that they are generally quite effective at making the foot stiffer and at making walking more comfortable with less pain. They certainly worth giving a go if you have pain from hallux rigidus.
See out others posts on Turf Toe Inserts or Insoles and Treatment of Freiberg’s disease with rigid foot plates.
Related Products for Hallux Rigidus
FootStore.au has some products that can be useful for hallux rigidus. For example the Carbon Plate for Hallux Rigidus is very useful for this.