Hallux Rigidus (Hallux Limitus)
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Hallux Rigidus is a condition that affects the big toe joint, and it is also known as big toe arthritis. Some people can be born with Hallux Rigidus or develop arthritic changes in the joint over time due to injury or patterns in their gait.
Alongside exercises and insoles, shoes play a vital role in pain management and reducing the speed of deterioration of Hallux Rigidus. Shoe type, fit and size can be a minefield, so we tried to categorise 3 different stages of the condition and the shoe we find most beneficial for our patients with Hallux Rigidus.
Remember that Hallux Rigidus is a form of big toe arthritis, and our shoe recommendations of Hoka and Asics work equally well for arthritis.
People with Hallux Rigidus should avoid flexible shoes with low levels of support and no cushioning.
James McCormack is a Physical Therapist specialising in knee, foot & ankle injuries. www.james-mccormack.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The money earned from this helps us create free educational content without affecting the price of the shoes we recommend.
For mild to moderate symptoms of Hallux Rigidus, shoes should have a wide toe box with a cushioned sole and a rocker sole. The wide toe prevents compression of the big toe that can lead to osteophytes rubbing in the joint, while the cushioned sole reduces impact and provides additional comfort. The rocker plate facilitates the push-off phase of the gait cycle with less force placed through the big toe joint.
For severe Hallux Rigidus, we recommend the above attributes in a shoe. However, having a carbon plate can stiffen the toe box and prevent or restrict significant toe extension, providing considerable pain relief.
A vast amount of money is spent on running shoe technology, so our recommendations can be used as walking shoes for Hallux Rigidus.
We recommend the Hoka One Bondi 8 for mild symptoms of Hallux valgus due to its plush cushioning, low heel height and wide fit.
The cushioned sole is responsive and reduces impact through the big toe joint, while the low heel height of 4mm slows down the speed of weight transfer onto the forefoot.
The Hoka One has a wide-fitting version to prevent compression of the Hallux within the toe box, which can irritate the symptoms of Hallux Rigidus.
We recommend the Asics Glideride 3 for moderate symptoms of Hallux valgus due to its wide toe box, mesh cover and rocker sole.
The wide toebox prevents compression of the big toe joint alongside its structured midsole to control excess pronation moments that can irritate a Hallux Rigidus.
Most importantly, the Asics Glideride 3 has a rocker sole which significantly reduces the amount of ankle flexion and forefoot extension during the gait cycle when walking and running. The rocker sole can significantly reduce pain levels for those with Hallux Rigidus.
We highly recommend the HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X 3 due to its comprehensive fitting options, rocker sole and carbon fibre plate.
Similarly to the Asics Glideride, the Hoka has a wide-fit toe box and rocker sole to alleviate pressure from the big toe.
However, in addition to this, the Hoka has a carbon fibre plate which severely reduces the extension possible at the big toe to offload and provides pain relief to Hallux Rigidus.
We recommend the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 as the best shoe for severe Hallux Rigidus.
The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 is a short carbon-plated shoe with carbon-infused rods that run the remaining length of the shoe from mid-foot to toe. This not only gives propulsion, but the rigid curved sole greatly benefits by reducing how much extension is needed at the big toe.
It has thick cushioning to reduce impact through the foot on landing and a low heel-to-toe drop of 10mm.Buy Adios Pro 3
We recommend the Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 as the best shoe for severe Hallux Rigidus.
The Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 shoe is designed with racing in mind and has a carbon plate. The benefit of this is a stiff sole and reduced extension through the big toe while getting nice springy, forward propulsion.
It is designed for longer distances, and therefore the cushioning reflects this with its comfortable, neutral support and low-drop midsole, keeping pressure off the big toe.Buy Unisex
The New Balance Fresh Foam and More v4 is our recommended shoe for severe Hallus Rigidus.
The Fresh Foam and More v4 is the most cushioned of the shoes we have recommended, with a stack height of approximately 34mm while keeping a low heel-to-toe drop.
This shoe is designed with a rocker profile to promote a smooth transition from heel to toe and reduce the need for extension of the big toe.Buy Men's Buy Women's
We recommend the Nike React Infinity 3 as the best shoes for Hallux Rigidus.
The Nike React Infinity 3 is designed with a rocker sole to aid smooth heel-to-toe transitions, reducing the pressure through the big toe joint.
It has good cushioning to reduce the impact of landing and a low heel-to-toe drop, keeping the load off the forefoot and big toe.Buy Men's Buy Women's
We recommend the Saucony Kinvara 14 for mild to moderate Hallux Rigidus.
The Saucony Kinvara 14 is a moderately cushioned shoe with light and responsive Saucony PWRRUN foam. This helps to reduce the impact of landing and propel the foot smoothly from heel to toe.
It has a low drop from heel-to-toe of 4mm, ensuring less pressure over the forefoot and big toe joint.Buy Men's Buy Women's
We recommend the Skechers GO RUN Max Road 6 for Severe Hallux Rigidus.
The Skechers GO RUN Max Road 6 has a podiatrist-certified arch support to facilitate a smooth transition from heel-to-toe.
The sole has plush cushioning to absorb impact. And is carbon infused to provide stiffness through the forefoot and prevent extension of the big toe, while providing a springy feel with each step.Buy Men's Buy Women's
This article is written by James McCormack, a Foot and Ankle Specialist who is an expert in prescribing the best shoes for Hallux Rigidus.
This is not medical advice. We recommend consulting with a medical professional such as James McCormack before purchasing any of the shoes recommended in this article. James offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments weekly and face-to-face appointments in his London clinic.