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Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

Posted by Frank on 6/16/03 at 13:30 (122001)

I have been under a podiatrist's care for heel spurs for six months. I have custom orthotics, received interferential therapy, worn a night splint, and have had three cortisone injections(ouch). All along, my pod has said that I have hallux rigidus, in addition to heel spurs, and that is probably the cause of my woes.It seems we have tried most of the conservative approaches I've read about on this site. I am still in pain and am considering surgery. My pod thinks I will get relief if we fix the big toe in question. It all sounds like voodoo to me. Does anyone have thoughts about this?

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

john h on 6/16/03 at 14:14 (122004)

Frank I have had bi-lateral PF for 8 years. When I developed my PF I was a runner and also had hallux limitus in both great toes. I had surgery on my left foot for the hallux limitus, a tarsal tunnel release and a PF procedure. It did not cure my PF. The hallux operation did improve or more or less cured the pain in the great toe caused by the hallux limitus. Many doctors think there is a correlation between PF and Hallux limitus/rigidus but do not think this will cure your PF. It may help and it may not.

If you have Hallux Rigidis this suggest you have no cartlidge to work with in the joint and that your choice is either a fusion or an artificial joint. If you have Hallux Limitus (you still have cartlidge in the joint) then you can have a procedure called a Cheilectomy where they clean the spurs out of the joint and cut a wedge of bone out to allow the toe to flex properly. This also reduces the toe pain and the big bump you have on your toe. An incision about 4' long is made on the top of your toe running back towards your foot. The procedure is out patient in a hospital and last about 25 minutes. You will be in a cast or walker probably for two weeks or less. The only pain is when you flex that toe upwards after surgery which you should start doing promptly so as to regain and maintain the flexion. Make sure you get a second opinion. My first Doctor said I had no cartlidge and should have a fusion or implant. My second Doctor said I had plenty of cartlidge and the simpler Chilectomy was appropriate. I would also suggest you forget about an artificial joint if that is suggested as the failure rate is high. Once again do not expect this to cure your PF. It might help and it might not but it will end or decrease your toe pain if that is bothering you.

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

Frank on 6/16/03 at 14:18 (122008)

Thanks for the response, John.
Funny thing is, I have no pain in my toe. Just heel pain.

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

john h on 6/16/03 at 14:19 (122010)

Frank: I forgot to ask is the big toe causing you much pain? How long have you had Hallux Limitus? Ask him again if you have Hallux Rigidus or Hallux Limitus? I think even an average guy can look at the x-ray and determine if you still have cartlidge or are dealing with bone on bone.

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

john h on 6/16/03 at 17:05 (122017)

Frank if your toe is causing you no pain I would not consider letting them operate on it in hopes of curing PF. That does not make a lot of sense and you risk causing some toe problems.

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

Frank on 6/16/03 at 18:20 (122027)

Thanks again, John.
I only have heel pain when I put weight on my toes. No pain if I just put weight on my heels. I guess that's why my doc wants to operate on the toe. But I see your point; why mess with the toe if it doesn't hurt?

Re: Hallux Rigidus and Heelspurs

george d on 3/12/08 at 08:50 (244438)

I've had Hallux Rigidus on right big toe and heel spur on same foot. I'm 63. Hallux Rigidux was first, when I was 58. Tried everthing my Podiatrist said, orthonics, etc. finally had surgery. BIG mistake. foot is all screwed up. At first after surgery I thought it was a miracle, no pain etc. I was never overweight, I was active, just not doing formal exercise, like resistance or cardivascular. Then I started to be more active in my semi-retirement, a lot of walking, going to gym. Now I have a nasty heel spur. Podiatrist says that the surgery on my big toe and the heel spur are not related. Baloney! cannot walk, run, or use any treadmill, eliptical trainer, even stationary bicycling is out,. Tried another set of orthonics, cortizone, night splints, ice packs, stretching. Pod said he will have me running again. BALONEY!!. Foot finally felt better when I got sick and did no exercising. Do not have surgery. try to work your way through it somehow.