The aim of the study was to compare the shape of the feet, the mobility of the metatarsophalangeal and interphalangeal joints and the flexibility of the calf muscles in older women with hallux valgus versus middle-aged women with and without this deformation to identify the presence of features which correlate particularly strongly with hallux valgus, and on which prophylaxis and conservative treatment should focus. The study involved 201 women: 92 aged 60-84 years with hallux valgus of both toes, 78 aged 38-59 with hallux valgus of both toes, and 31 aged 38-57 years with correctly shaped feet. The intensity of pain in the foot, the valgus angle of the big toe and fifth toe, the longitudinal and transverse arches of the foot, the symmetry of foot load with body weight, toe joint mobility and muscle flexibility were analysed. Both groups of women with hallux valgus differed from women with normal feet in the height of the transverse arch, the extent of dorsal extension in the first metatarsophalangeal joint and plantar flexion in the first interphalangeal joint. Older women were additionally characterised by reduced plantar flexion in the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe, limited flexibility of the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles as well as less pain in the toe area than in the foot itself. The most characteristic changes which were observed in older women with hallux valgus are a limited range of motion in the MTP and IP joints of the big toe, a reduced transverse arch and increased restriction of calf muscle flexibility.
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