Foot Health

Why does my hallux rigidus cause swelling?


One of the primary reasons for swelling in hallux rigidus is the inflammation caused by arthritis. Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to harmful stimuli, such as injury or infection. In the case of hallux rigidus, this inflammation is triggered by the rubbing together of bones within the MTP joint, a result of the breakdown of the protective cartilage that usually prevents such contact.

This inflammation leads to an increase in the amount of fluid in the joint, causing swelling and redness. It’s also responsible for the associated symptoms such as warmth, tenderness, and stiffness in the affected area. The inflammation and swelling may fluctuate, often becoming more pronounced after periods of activity or prolonged use of the joint.

Body’s Response to Injury

Apart from inflammation, your body’s natural response to the cartilage deterioration and bone damage occurring in the MTP joint can contribute to swelling. This response can lead to the formation of bone spurs, extra bony growths that develop along the edges of bones.

Bone spurs in themselves don’t cause swelling, but they can create additional pressure within the joint, indirectly leading to more inflammation and swelling. They can also restrict the movement of the toe and contribute to the overall discomfort and pain associated with hallux rigidus.

In summary, the swelling in hallux rigidus arises primarily from inflammation in the MTP joint and the body’s reaction to the cartilage and bone damage occurring in the joint. If you’re experiencing swelling due to hallux rigidus, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or a foot specialist to discuss the most effective treatment options.