Background: Injury to the metatarsophalangeal or interphalangeal joints of the hallux is an unusual clinical problem.
Materials and methods: This investigation represents a retrospective case series accumulated over a twenty year period of ninety-three beach soccer players who were treated for an osteochondral injury of the hallux metatarsophalangeal or interphalangeal joints of their dominant (kicking) foot.
Results: Eighty-one patients underwent surgical excision of an avascular osteochondral fragment that had been identified by both plain radiography and magnetic resonance imaging. All but two patients were able to return to participation with either minimal or no pain. Two patients progressed to hallux rigidus and metatarsophalangeal joint arthritis.
Conclusion: This retrospective case series describes a sports-related injury of the hallux metatarsophalangeal or interphalangeal joints that is likely produced by hyper-flexion or hyperextersion. This descriptive case series might well characterize heretofore unexplained post-traumatic pain and swelling involving the hallux.