Hallux Rigidus is a condition in which the first metatarsophalengeal (MTP) joint has little or no range of motion in dorsiflexion. Hallux rigidus may be a secondary condition as a result of MTP degenerative arthritis, cartilage wear, abnormal or malaligned joint mechanics, or osteophyte formation (commonly referred to as a bone spur). Symptoms can include joint pain, inflammation, and pain during movement.
Hallux rigidus can potentially impair the ability to dance, but there is currently no available research on treatments that might restore the full range of motion required in dance. Depending on the degree of impairment, physical therapy and joint injections may provide some relief and improved range of motion, and more serious cases may require surgery.
Because of the limited range of motion, a dancer with hallux rigidus is not able to fully rise to demi-pointe. To give the aesthetic that he/she is, the dancer will sometimes shift the weight over the lesser toes, “sickling” the foot. This compensatory mechanism increases the risk for a lateral ankle sprain or fifth metatarsal fracture.
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