Gait and Balance Biomechanical Characteristics of Patients With Grades III and IV Hallux Rigidus

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2022 May-Jun;61(3):452-455. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2021.09.016. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


Patients with hallux rigidus (HR) tend to develop a characteristic alteration in walking to lessening pain and compensate for the limited range of motion at the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP1) joint that might be affected balance and gait. The goal of this study was to perform an integrated biomechanical description of gait and balance of symptomatic patients with either grade as III or IV HR in comparison with healthy subjects. Eleven patients (7 men) with HR (60 ± 7 years, 1.60 ± 0.07 m, and 70 ± 13 kg) and 16 (7 men) healthy subjects (70 ± 8 years, 1.66 ± 0.10 m, and 74 ± 14 kg) were included. Subjects performed 2 tasks: walking (5 trials of straight walking for at least 6 meters) and bipedal quiet standing for 30 seconds. For these 2 tasks the following variables were measured: range of motion of the MTP1 joint, plantar pressure distribution during the stance phase of walking, and the postural sway during quiet standing. Plantar pressure was measured in up 15 walking trials with a mat pressure sensor. The MTP1 joint range of motion for flexion/extension during walking was significantly smaller for the patients with HR than for the control group (HR: 14 ± 8°, control: 44 ± 5°; t(17) = -9.7, p < .001). The forefoot plantar pressure distribution among different regions of the foot in patients with HR was not statistically different than the control group, but there was a tendency of higher pressures in the lateral metatarsal heads (p = .06). As description of the postural sway during quiet standing, the center of pressure area was not different between HR and the control group (p > .05). Decreased MTP1 joint range of motion for flexion/extension during walking in symptomatic high-grade HR patients can be associated with higher pressure in the lateral metatarsal heads while the impact on postural sway is not affected.

Keywords: balance; biomechanics; gait; hallux rigidus; lower extremity.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Gait
  • Hallux Rigidus* / surgery
  • Hallux*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint* / surgery