Surgical and Non Surgical Treatments for Stiff Big Toe

The stiff big toe can also be called as Hallus rigidus and is a disorder where the base of the big toe becomes stiff and base of big toe is the most common part of our foot to get arthritis. The joint present on the base of the toe called the metatarsophalangeal is the joint which has to bend every time we walk. So when this part stiffens, walking becomes completely difficult.


  • Non-surgical Treatment
  • Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment includes contrast bath. To do this you need two buckets – one containing warm water and the other containing cold water. First immerse your foot in the cold water for around 30 seconds and then immediately immerse it in hot water for around 30 seconds. This can be done alternatively for five minutes and always you should end the process with the cold water. This is efficient and effective in reducing the swelling and can be done three times a day. But you should never use severe cold or hot water, especially if your body is very sensitive to heat or cold.

Surgical Treatment

There are different surgical treatments that are recommended. They are given below:

  • Cheilectomy
  • Arthrodesis
  • Arthroplasty


Cheilectomy is usually done when damage is either mild or moderate. It involves the removal of the bone spurs and a portion of foot bone, to make room for the toe to bend.


Arthrodesis consists of fusing the bones together and is recommended when severe damage happens to the cartilage. In this case the damaged cartilage is removed and the joints are fixed in a permanent position using screws, pins or a plate. Gradually, over time, the bones grow together.


Arthroplasty or joint replacement surgery is recommended to older patients whose functional demand of the feet will be few. An artificial joint is implanted after removing the joint surfaces.