Hallux Limitus


Hallux limitus describes a condition in which there is limitation of motion of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint in the sagittal plane. Hallux limitus is the inability of the hallux to dorsiflex at the 1st MPJ. This limited range of motion results in jamming of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint (1st MPJ). Over time, repetitive jamming will contribute to arthritis of the 1st MPJ. The most characteristic sign of hallux limitus is a bump (exostosis) on top of the head of the 1st metatarsal. In fact, many doctors also refer to hallux limitus as a dorsal bunion.


Ages 30 to 50 years old, men and women equally. Tends to occur in the pronated foot.


Hallux limitus is caused by four contributing factors. These factors include the following:

  1. A long 1st metatarsal.
  2. An elevated 1st metatarsal. (Metatarsus primus elevatus)
  3. An impaction injury (trauma) of the 1st MPJ resulting in an osteochondral defect (OCD) of the joint.
  4. Systemic diseases that cause injury to the joint such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or gout.

This topic is discussed in detail on the footDrHorsley web site and is accessible using the following link: http://www.footdrhorsley.com/health/hallux_limitus.php