Foot Health

What type of doctor treats hallux rigidus?

Identifying the Right Specialist for Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus, a degenerative form of arthritis that affects the big toe, typically requires specialist medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. The types of doctors who are commonly involved in the treatment of hallux rigidus include:


A podiatrist is a specialist in foot, ankle, and lower limb health. They are well-equipped to diagnose and treat conditions affecting these areas, including hallux rigidus. Podiatrists can provide a range of non-surgical treatment options, such as recommending specific footwear, prescribing custom orthotics, and suggesting physical therapy. In some jurisdictions, podiatrists are also trained to perform foot and ankle surgeries.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. An orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle conditions can diagnose hallux rigidus and offer both non-surgical and surgical treatment options. They can perform procedures such as bone spur removal, joint fusion (arthrodesis), and joint replacement.


In some cases, especially when hallux rigidus is part of a broader systemic issue like rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist may be involved in the patient’s care. Rheumatologists specialize in diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones and can help manage the overall condition and coordinate care with other specialists.

Primary Care Physician

While not specialists in foot health, primary care physicians play an important role in the initial diagnosis and referral process. They can evaluate symptoms, provide preliminary treatment, and refer patients to appropriate specialists for further care.

Selecting the right medical professional depends on the severity of the condition, the patient’s overall health, and their personal preferences. No matter the specialist chosen, effective communication about symptoms, concerns, and treatment goals is vital to ensure optimal management of hallux rigidus.