Hallux rigidus is a problem in when the movement at the big toe joint of the foot is rigid and is typically connected with osteoarthritis. The great toe joint of the feet are really quite a significant joint in the body as it has got to bend so the leg can move forward over the foot when walking. If something obstructs the motion at that joint, then continuing to move forward is going to be a lot harder and force would be put on other joints that have to flex more as that joint just isn't flexing adequately. This may cause pain in the big toe or hallux joint as well as other joints. In addition, it will cause an excessive wear pattern on the shoes. The main cause of hallux rigidus is commonly a earlier injury to the joint. With time this sets up a process of abnormal use that results in further damage and osteoarthritis to the joint. In due course the restricted movement of the joint is even more restricted and the joint will become rigid with no motion at all.
The best way to deal with a Hallux Rigidus is appropriate therapy for the original trauma with excellent rehabilitation and the use of exercises to avoid or reduce the developments of the osteoarthritis. If the joint is painful, then medications and injection therapy into the joint works extremely well for the pain. The use of a firmer sole shoe is usually beneficial as this decreases the demand on the joint to flex. Some shoes can also have a rocker added to them, so that you can pivot over the rocker and don't need to use the joint as much. If these conservative methods aren't helpful, then the next step is surgical. There are many options here. The simplest, if indicated, is to simply remove some bone of the top of the joint to allow to move more. If that's not possible, then the joint may be surgically fused to stop it bending. This specific fusion deals with the pain from the osteoarthritis because the joint can no longer flex.