Functional Hallux Limitus

Functional Hallux limitus is a foot condition commonly seen in our practice on a daily basis.  Functional Hallux limitus is the technical term for a disorder that means that your big toe joint is not as flexible as it should be.  We require 70 degrees of dorsiflexion of the big toe joint (1st metatarsophalangeal joint) for effective propulsion during the gait cycle.  As we’ toe off’, this joint flexes reeling up the soft tissues of the sole of the foot.  This process, termed the Windlass Mechanism, allow the foot’s natural arch to be restored, storing energy for the next step in the gait cycle.  If dysfunction of this mechanism exists, undue stresses are placed on the joint which can lead to arthritic change within the joint resulting in pain and total rigidity in the long-term.  Functional Hallux limitus can be caused by a number of reasons including an elongated 1st metatarsal, dorsiflexion of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint and hypermobility of the 1st met/ 1st ray / foot generally.  Functional Hallux limitus is not to be confused with Structural Hallux Limitus which as the name suggests is the decreased flexion of the joint due to arthritic changes within the joint.  Functional Hallux limitus is treatable using orthotic therapy.  A bespoke pair of orthoses manufactured from a semi-flexible material with the necessary anti-pronatory rearfoot control and a 1st met cutout is what is required to effectively manage a Functional Hallux limitus.  So if you are experiencing big toe joint pain, call into Free Your Feet Podiatry for a consultation as you might very well be one of the many who have a Functional Hallux limitus.

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