One drawback of walking exercise is that afflictions come along to knock us off our stride and give us excuses for stopping for a while. Hallux Rigidus & Limitus is one of those afflictions. Affecting the big toe and forcing it into a natural position over time results in pain but there is salvation at hand.
All human beings work to make their lifestyles better. That is why every day, technology keeps on taking everything a notch higher to make the human race more comfortable. However, one area which people focus on is ensuring that they are in good health.
The number one reason is that the body is the vessel which makes all the other goals achievable. That is why you will find many people waking up at dawn to run, jog or walk to keep in shape and also keep control of their bodies.
Sadly, no matter how fit we are, our bodies tend to develop conditions which limit us from the activities which we deem normal such as walking or running as we age on.
Among these, hallux rigidus and limitus top the list. In case you’ve never heard of these conditions and you are wondering what gibberish this is, don’t worry because I've got you.
What is hallux rigidus & limitus?
Hallux rigidus and limitus are disorders which cause pain and stiffness to the big toe. In the initial stages, Limitus only causes pain and difficulties for you in bending the toe.
However, as it progresses, it is referred to as rigidus, and the sufferer can no longer bend or move the toe as it becomes frozen. Hallux rigidus causes the rest of the toe joints to strain. Your body weight creates pressure on your toes as you walk naturally and the toe which takes more pressure than any other is your big one!
Signs and symptoms
- The most prominent symptom is rigidity and pain when you try to move the big toe
- Swelling near or on the MTP joint (the metatarsophalangeal joints are the joints in your foot where the toes meet the main structure in the ball of your foot)
If not treated urgently, this foot condition may cause rheumatoid arthritis.
My father was a sufferer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and it is not a pleasant disorder. Pain in the joints every waking moment is something you want to avoid. So if you have any pain in your toe joints, swelling or you are altering the way you walk because of actual or feared pain then please make an appointment with a doctor or podiatrist to search out the cause and, hopefully, a remedy.
If you have pain in your toes then the natural result is to change your gait to avoid putting so much pressure on the painful joint. The result of this is an abnormal stride and pressure increased on other joints, mostly in a way that is unnatural for those joints. The end result is pain in the joints used in preference to your big toes and further problems to solve.
Exercise is a hugely important activity and fortunately, you don’t have to stop your fitness program as there are shoes specifically designed to help reduce pressure on a stiff big toe and distribute it across the foot. This reduces localized stress on joints that you would otherwise have to rely on and spreads it across the whole foot and mostly alleviate the problem.
You can, therefore, continue with your morning jogs and walks without experiencing discomfort and pain and at the same time are in style.
Most shoes suitable for people with Hallidus Rigidus and Limitus will have a large toe box.
This is necessary to reduce the pressure applied by the sides of regular shoes pressing on your big toe and thereby reducing the pain.
Typically they also have stiffer, flatter soles which mean that your legs are in a more comfortable and even position.
This contributes a lot to helping your big toe recover some of its optimal arch.
Below is a list to help you choose nothing but the best walking shoes for Hallux Rigidus & Limitus for men.
Top Rated Shoes for Hallux Rigidus & Limitus for Men
Asics Gel Venture 6
If the going gets hard, Brooks
Glycerin 16 is there for you.
The Ascis Gel Venture 6 is a best seller and deservedly so. The shoe has cushioning buried in the midsole in what the manufacturer describes as a rearfoot GEL Cushioning System. The benefit of this is to reduce impact stress as your foot touches the floor.
The shoe sole is stiffened up a little with AHAR rubber in strategic areas. AHAR simply means Ascis High Abrasion Rubber or in other words tougher rubber on the soles to provide added durability and rigidity to the sole.
The toe box on many sneakers and sports shoes are typically constraining, in order to provide support for the foot under stressful exercise conditions. This does not help you much if you are suffering from Rigidus. Thankfully Asics have made the toe box a little larger than normal in this model. The mesh upper also allows for a little flexibility in the big toe area.
The shoe has removable insoles so you will be able to install your own favorite or prescribed orthotics to gain maximum benefit and continue the great exercise of walking. If that is your plan then it would be wise to order a half size larger than your normal choice or better still, order your normal size in the XW - extra wide - width fitting unless you have narrow feet.
Brooks Addiction Walker
The Brooks Addiction Walker has a roomy toe box and one of the best in shoe support systems on the market. It has been in production for many years and is a consistently good seller to people suffering from foot issues.
The shoe has a heel cushioning system to distribute impact stress on the foot along with a special rollbar in the mid-arch area. A rollbar is basically a stiffened plastic insert molded into the shoe to stop the shoe twisting as you progress your tread. This is beneficial to Hallux Rigidus sufferers by further forcing the foot to distribute pressure more evenly and away from the big toe problem area.
Midsole cushioning is provided by a special compound which Brooks label MoGo. This specially formulated compound is slightly soft to disperse energy whilst on the pressure phase of your step and give it back through spring as you transition to the lift-off phase of your step.
Other benefits of the shoe are a durable great traction outsole for a long-lasting investment. The shoe is constructed with a leather upper and rubber sole. This is still our choice for Hallux sufferers as well as overpronators.
The shoe does have quality supportive insoles but these are removable to allow for any special orthotics you may wish to fit. We truly believe this is a great shoe whether you have Narrow, Medium, Wide or Extra Wide feet as there is a full range of shoe last widths for you to choose from. Generally your normal size and width fitting should work, though some might need to half size up depending on foot shape.
New Balance 928v3 Men's Walking Shoe
If you are want something comfortable yet stylish, then the New Balance 928 is a great shoe for you.
A dedicated walking shoe now in its version 3 model. They will save you cash as they are multipurpose and are made of leather.
Although they are lightweight they are made to offer maximum support with good cushioning throughout the shoe and plenty of cushioning around the top and rear of the shoe.
The best thing about the shoe is that they come in Narrow, Medium, Wide, Extra Wide and Extra Extra Wide fittings.
You may come across the version 2 of the shoe in your searches but be warned that the shoe does not fit to size and you are likely to need at least one size larger and one width fitting more to get your usual fit. The issue has been fixed though in this version of the shoe which fits nearer to size but we still favor choosing a half size larger than normal with your regular width fitting.
This shoe has quite a lot larger toe box than most sports shoes which greatly assists your toe to have room to recover whilst still looking smart. Good for exercise walking as well as walking around town and about the office if they have a casual dress policy.
The interior is equipped with roll bar design to prevent excessive movement of the foot.
It has padding in it to act as a shock absorber and also offers a feeling of comfort, and the rubber exterior adds icing on the cake as it provides more support. It has lace up vamp which makes it comfortable to wear.
Our advice - be sure to get the 928v3 and not the 928v2 as they are quite different size wise.
Altra Olympus 3 Running Shoe
This product from Altra is also a must-have if you are a man suffering from Hallux Rigidus & Limitus. It packs quite a bunch of features which make your walking and running life way easier.
It is primarily aimed at people who power walk on rugged ground but our take is that it is equally suited to use on hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt as well as pretty much any other surface you might choose to walk on.
It is a dedicated exercise shoe though and the design is quite sporty looking so it is not really best suited as an everyday casual shoe.
That said the shoe is specifically designed to provide room for toes to spread and not constrain them and is marketed as such with the company's Footshape logo. The great grip qualities of the shoe may not be forefront of your mind but the InnerFlex cushioning will certainly be appreciated by your feet.
It's wide toe box offers you a lot of space for the rest of your toes and has Vibram sticky rubber which provides a total grip on the ground which might be handy in wet or freezing conditions depending on your walking schedule.
It is a lightweight shoe yet durable not to mention comes in a wide array of colours so you can stand out. The only downside of this shoe over the others is that the sizing is limited to Medium width which will force slightly wider footed guys to size up and wide footed folk out of the running so to speak, so far as this shoe goes.
Still worth a look as the Charcoal / Dark Red shoe looks pretty good!