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Foot Exercises

Hallux Rigidus Exercises

Minute Read


Posted 9 months ago


Last updated: 04/12/2022


by James McCormack

Hallux Rigidus affects the big toe joint, limiting the range of motion and becoming increasingly painful and stiff as the condition deteriorates. The correct footwear, insoles and exercises can significantly improve pain levels and reduce the speed of deterioration seen in those with the condition. Hallux Rigidus is a condition that we regularly see in our clinics, and in this article, we will provide the exercises that we prescribe most often to our clients.

Best Exercises for Hallux Rigidus

The best exercises for Hallux Rigidus should consist of a range of motion exercises for the ankle and big toe joint, stability exercises for the foot and strengthening exercises for the big toe joint. A loss of dorsiflexion of the big toe joint is associated with this condition, so we aim to maintain your current flexibility without irritating the joint; with that in mind, be careful to avoid overstretching or forcing a stretch into the big toe as this has the potential to inflame the area. Improving the stability of the foot reduces the force being applied to the big toe. In addition, the reduced range of the big toe can make its muscular attachments weaker as patients use the big toe less and less subconsciously. Hence, it is essential to strengthening muscles such as the Flexor Hallucis Longus in isolation.

Stretches for Hallux Rigidus

Stretch for Ankle Mobility

Soleus Stretch off a step

  • Stand with your heels off the edge of a step
  • Bend your knees while slowly lowering your heels
  • Stop and hold once you feel a stretch on your Achilles Tendon
  • Hold: 45 seconds
  • Repeat: 3-4 times daily

Hallux Rigidus Stretch For Mild Symptoms

  • Standing upright, facing a step or wall.
  • Bend your knee while keeping your heel on the floor
  • Bring your knee as close to the wall/step as possible
  • Hold for 45 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily

Hallux Rigidus Stretch For Moderate or Severe Symptoms

Stability Exercise for Hallux Rigidus

Foot Stability Exercise for Hallux Rigidus

Single Leg Balance On a Cushion

  • Stand on one leg with your foot on a cushion
  • Hold your opposite leg out in front
  • Focus on a point in front of you to help with stability
  • Hold for 60 seconds
  • Repeat 3-4 times daily.

Ankle Stability Exercise for Hallux Rigidus

Soleus Muscle Strengthening

  • Stand upright with both knees bent
  • Maintain the bend in your knees while lifting your heels off the floor
  • Slowly return to your starting position to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions: 25
  • Sets: 3

Flexor Hallucis Longus Strengthening

  • Wrap a resistance band around the big toe
  • Lower the big toe to the floor against the resistance band keeping the other toes still
  • Slowly release the big toe upwards to complete one repetition
  • Repetitions 15
  • Sets 3

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus

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