How To Treat Hallux Rigidus In Runners

Start Page: 46
Doug Richie Jr., DPM

In Conclusion

   Running athletes with hallux rigidus are unique and differ from the typical older sedentary patients who most frequently present with this condition. On one hand, running athletes demand less dorsiflexion range of motion of the first MPJ in comparison to walking patients. Therefore, runners can continue their sport even when dorsiflexion range of motion diminishes to less than 40 degrees. Conversely, running increases internal joint moments in the feet 10-fold, which should be a strong deterrent to the use of prosthetic joint implants that have been designed to relieve the symptoms of hallux rigidus in sedentary patients.

   Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of surgical interventions for the treatment of hallux rigidus in running athletes. While cheilectomy may be beneficial for early stages of hallux rigidus, arthrodesis of the first MPJ appears to be the best option for the relief of symptoms with stage III and stage IV hallux rigidus in active, athletic patients.

Dr. Richie is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt College. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and is in private practice in Seal Beach, Ca.

For further reading, see “Managing Hallux Rigidus In The Athlete” in the April 2004 issue or “Key Insights In Treating Hallux Limitus” in the March 2007 issue of Podiatry Today.

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