Foot Health

Why does my Hallux Rigidus feel stiff?

The stiffness in the toe caused by Hallux Rigidus primarily results from the development of osteoarthritis in the joint at the base of the big toe. Here are some of the key factors that contribute to this stiffness:

Cartilage Degradation

The main reason for the stiffness is the wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the joint. Over time, this cartilage wears away, causing the bones to rub against each other. This leads to inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

Bone Spurs

When the body tries to heal itself from the continuous rubbing of bones, it sometimes creates extra bone around the joint. These are known as bone spurs or osteophytes, which can limit the joint’s movement and cause stiffness.


In response to the irritation caused by the friction between the bones, the body can produce an inflammatory response. This can result in swelling, warmth, redness, and stiffness in the joint.

Scar Tissue

As the joint undergoes continuous damage, the body may create scar tissue as a healing response. This scar tissue can also limit the motion of the toe and lead to stiffness.

Changes in Weather

While not a direct cause, many people with Hallux Rigidus report increased stiffness and pain with cold or damp weather.

Remember, everyone’s experience with Hallux Rigidus can be different. The degree of stiffness can vary based on the stage of the condition, overall health, activity levels, and many other factors. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis and treatment.