Hallux Limitus

Hallux is the medical term for your big toe. Limitus means limited movement, so ‘hallux limitus’ simply means you have limited movement in your big toe joint (1st metatarsal-phalangeal joint).

What is Hallux Limitus?

Hallux Limitus is a painful condition which usually causes joint pain and inflammation in the big toe joint. It is an early sign of osteoarthritis, and the top surface of the joint will have bony ‘bumps’ or osteophytic lipping round the periphery of the joint capsule. These bumps reduce the range of joint motion further which causes more bony deposition around the joint.

How does Hallux Limitus affect my foot?

In the normal big toe joint, the big toe should be able to extend (or bend upwards) to about 65 degrees. This happens every step you take to allow you to lift your heel off the floor and move forwards over your foot.

If your big toe joint is unable to move sufficiently then two things can happen.

  • You may find that your feet point  outwards. By doing this, your big toe joint doesn’t have to extend so much.
  • As your heel lifts off the ground to move forward, the heel ‘flicks’ inwards a little. This has the effect of turning the feet outwards again, giving the big toe joint less to do.

What can I do about this condition?


By strengthening the foot and the toe muscles, your foot becomes better at gripping the ground.

Recommended Insoles

There is a specifically designed insole called the X Line DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease) which can help alleviate some of the discomfort caused by Hallux Limitus.