How to choose shoes for hallux rigidus

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Hallux rigidus is a condition of the big toe joint. It results in osteoarthritis of the joint through wear and tear or as a result of an injury to the joint. The joint had reduced movement and can eventually become completely rigid. It can be very painful and stiff, similar to any arthritic joint, making walking difficult. The joint can become enlarged causing shoe fitting a problem. The joint may also appear red and swollen as a result of shoe pressure over this prominent joint. This article will assist you in choosing a shoe if you have hallux rigidus.

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  1. 1

    Take a look at your current footwear and see which shoes are most comfortable. This will give you an idea of the style of shoe you will find the most beneficial.

  2. 2

    Have both feet measured. You may have hallux ridigus in just one foot or it may be worse in one foot, making your feet different sizes from each other. Always buy shoes to fit the larger or wider foot.

  3. 3

    Choose shoes with a good toe spring (the toe of the shoe is off the ground when placed on a flat surface). This will require less movement of the joint and aid walking. A running shoe is a good example of this type of shoe.

  4. 4

    Find a shoe with a lace or a strap. The laces can be adjusted to allow more room in the front of the shoe to accommodate the enlarged joint. A lace or a strap also holds your foot in place so that it does not slip forwards in the shoe. You'll want the widest point of your foot to correspond to the widest part of the shoe. If your foot slips forward, your big toe joint will be irritated and the condition may worsen.

  5. 5

    Avoid shoes with stitching, straps or seams that run across the prominent joint. This will only add pressure to a susceptible area and can cause corns, calluses or blisters

  6. 6

    Choose a shoe with a firm sole which will help to support the painful joint and reduce movement to a certain extent.

  7. 7

    Look for elastic uppers for the front area of the shoe. Elastic can stretch and will accommodate any toe deformities and the enlarged big toe joint that occurs with hallux rigidus.

  8. 8

    Take your orthotic with you to make sure you achieve the perfect fit while wearing the orthotic. Otherwise, when you later place the orthotic in the shoe, the shoe will be too tight. An orthotic can reduce the pain associated with hallux rigidus.

  9. 9

    Take your new shoes to your podiatrist if you are unsure about the fit. They may be able to adjust them slightly by placing padding in the shoe or allow the shoes to adjusted by a specialist. They may add a rocker sole onto the shoe to reduce the load on the painful joint and to aid walking.

Tips and warnings

  • Never squeeze your foot into a shoe and hope that it will stretch and eventually become comfotable.
  • Shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest, most swollen state.
  • Always buy shoes to fit the larger foot and pad out the shoe for the smaller or narrower foot.
  • If a shoe is not comfortable in the store, do not buy it.

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