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Hallux Rigidus - Causes, Symptoms & Herbal Treatment

Hallux rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joints located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the joint, and with time it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. 'Hallux" refers to the big toe and "rigidus" indicates the immobile and rigid toe. Hallux rigidus is actually a form of degenerative arthritis that affects big toe.

This disorder can be very troubling and disabling as the big toe absorbs most of the pressure while walking, stooping down, and climbing up or while standing. Hallux rigidus is a progressive condition hence the toe's motion decreases as time goes on.

According to Ayurveda. This disease is correlated to Sandhigata vata. (sandhi means joints and vata stands for vata dosha.) This is due to dhatukshya that limits the daily normal functions like walking, bathing etc.

Shool Pradhan vedana and sandhishotha is the cardinal feature of this diseases. Three energies of body – Vata, Pitta and Kapha are responsible for health and disease condition of the body. If we talk about sandhigata vata, there is vitiation of vata dosha due to vata prakopit aahara and vihara. Vata is dry in nature and it absorbs the fluidity from particular part of the body, here we can say that vata gets accumulated at the base of big toe and it causes reduction in the synovial fluid and hence functions are inhibited. Symptoms present are local swelling, inflammation and pain of toe.

Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe while walking, standing, bending which aggravates by cold, damp weather
  • Swelling and inflammation around the joint
  • Difficulty in wearing shoes because bone spurs or overgrowths
  • Dull pain in the hip, knee, or lower back due to changes in the way you walk
  • Limping and pain even during rest
  • A noticeable bump on top of the foot

Causes of Hallux Rigidus

  • The common causes of hallux rigidus are faulty function and structural abnormalities of the foot that can lead to osteoarthritis in the big toe joint. This type of arthritis results from “wear and tear” or the defects that change the way in which foot and big toe functions. For example, those with fallen arches or excessive pronation of the ankles are susceptible to developing hallux rigidus.
  • In some cases, hallux rigidus runs in the family and is a result of inheriting a foot type that is prone to developing this condition.
  • In other cases, hallux rigidus is associated with over engaging in physical activities or jobs that increase the stress on the big toe.
  • Hallux rigidus can also result from an injury, such as stubbing the toe.
  • Another cause of hallux rigidus is various inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis or gout.

Herbs for Hallux Rigidus Treatment

Certain herbs may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with hallux rigidus as well as the ability to reduce such pain in all forms of the disease.

1. Guggul

Guggul is used as a detoxifying herbal extract in Ayurveda. The resin secreted by the guggul tree are found to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects It may also be useful in relieving pains due to fibromyalgia and rheumatism. Guggul can be found in their raw forms as gums and resins, and in powder, capsules and tablets.

2. Holy Basil

Holy basil or tulsi not only plays an important role in Ayurveda but it is also used in cooking and also as a medicine to treat cold, flu and sore throat. Holy basil oil is found to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other medicinal properties that are effective against arthritis, stiff joints, diabetes, high cholesterol, peptic ulcers as well as radiation and poisoning. Dried or grounded holy basil leaves are a popular anti-inflammatory herbal formula to enhance immune system so that body can stand with various troubling symptoms of hallux rigidus.

3. Giloy

Giloy is another anti-inflammatory herb that may reduce swelling in arthritis like conditions. Traditionally, it is used to boost the immune system. Cat's claw can help with arthritis pain, joint stiffness and swelling.

4. Shunthi

Shunthi is one of the very common herb used in treating inflammation. The herb shows promising results in relieving arthritis related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, toe and neck. This herb is rich in antioxidants which help to eliminate ama and other toxins out from the body.

5. Haridra

Haridra is curcuma longa, a medicinal plant which is very popular and frequently used herb in Ayurveda. Curcumin is an active substance in turmeric that works wonder in taking care of many health ailments. It is rich in antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Haridra has been proved really effective in the treatment of hallux rigidus.

6. Punarnava

Punarnava, a natural diuretic in Ayurveda is very effective and result giving herb. Various formulations are there containing punarnava as major ingredient among many which work in very synergetic manner to subside swelling, inflammation and other related symptoms like in hallux rigidus.

7. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is used in oral medications and topical oil extracts for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain and joint stiffness. The leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the pain that arthritis causes.

8. Boswellia

Boswellia or Shalakki is popular for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. It is derived from the gum of boswellia trees, which are indigenous to India. This herb is thought to work by blocking leukotrienes which can attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and related conditions. Boswellia is available in tablet form, as well as topical creams.

9. Devil's Claw

Devil's claw, a popular homeopathic herb is a creepy looking root which can reduce pain, joint stiffness and physical functioning in arthritis and arthritis like conditions. Devil's claw contains components called iridoid glycosides, which are thought to be the source of its pain relieving properties. Devil's claw root can be taken as a tea, and it is also often sold in many other formulations.

Planet Ayurveda brings many result giving and effective herbal formulations for the same problem. It has pure herbal extracts in the form of capsules, powders, tablets and oils and teas.

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