Archive for May, 2013

Big toe – Trouble

The big toe is a critical part of the forefoot that allows us to walk, run, climb and balance.  It bears more weight than any of the other toes and plays a very important role in propulsion.

The base of the big toe is made up of a joint between the metatarsal and phalanges (toe) bones.  One disorder affecting this joint is a condition called Hallux Rigidus.

Hallus Rigidus is a degenerative condition mostly seen in middle age.  As the name suggests stiffness and pain are the major signs of this condition.  Sufferers find that both the stiffness and pain restrict any activity involving movement at the big toe.  Walking, running, squatting and climbing may get progressively more difficult as the condition progresses.

The most common cause of Hallus Rigidus is osteoarthritic change in the joint.  Poor foot biomechanics, previous joint trauma and family history may be some of the factors involved in its development.

In normal walking the big toe must extend prior to push off to assist with propulsion of the foot.  In the presence of Hallux Rigidus this is not possible affecting the efficiency of foot function and a shortening of the stride length.  As the degeneration progresses the joint will stiffen further and bony thickening around the joint margins may develop.

Apart from Orthopaedic intervention there are a number of management tools available to your physiotherapist experienced in dealing with this area of the foot.

A thorough examination of the foot function will be undertaken and your physiotherapist will discuss these findings with you.

An X-Ray may be indicated to determine the extent of any bony and joint changes.

Early intervention using very specific joint mobilising techniques can help maintain joint motion by reducing ligament contracture.  This helps keep the joint mobile and should reduce the pain associated with joint stiffness.

Orthotics may be prescribed to help normalise foot function which may be a contributing factor to developing the condition.  Footwear advice may include the use of stiff soled or rocker shoes to reduce the load on this joint during push off.

It should be noted that this conservative management will not cure the condition but should help to prolong the useful life of the joint and make walking more comfortable.

Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart is a Physiotherapist at the Oamaru Physiotherapy Clinic.  He has post graduate qualifications in Manipulative Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine and is a Registered Physiotherapy Acupuncturist.

He toured as a Physiotherapist with the Maori All Blacks for 14 years up until 2008.

Source:  Oamaru Physiotherapy Clinic written by Mike Stewart and Michelle Sintmaartensdyk


Avoiding Sports Injuries

Why you should warm up:

  • Raises your heart rate to prepare your body for physical exertion
  • Speeds up nerve impulses which improves your reflexes
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Sends oxygenated blood to your muscles
  • Reduces your risk of injury and prevents tissue damage
  • Increases your flexibility and joint mobility

Why you should cool down:

  • Helps to gently return your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure to normal
  •  Improves your flexibility
  •  Reduces your risk of injury
  •  Removes naturally occurring waste products from muscles and helps reduce your risk of soreness



Winter is here

We provide injury management for everyone wanting fast, effective help to return full activities.  We spend extra time to ensure complete recovery and prevention of recurrence to keep you at peak performance so you enjoy life to the full- because your body deserves the best of care.

 We know you have a choice.  Choose us for:

  1. Perfect central city location.
  2. Experienced team to treat a full range of injuries and conditions.
  3. Easy to get appointment times to suit.
  4. Seen on time, every time.
  5. Information on your progress from visit to visit.
  6. All appointments 30 minutes.


Winter is certainly here and for those of you who injure        out in the cold remember that hopping into a hot bath once you get home is likely to make matters worse not        better, especially if there is acute inflammation- better to stick to the RICE program (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

If you are waiting for your injury to go away don’t wait more than 5 days             or you may end up with more problems as a result of poor healing or   compensation patterns.

Always best to get some advice from one of our team of Physios- even if you only need a couple of sessions, we can tell you how to get the best resolution of the    problem.        

Ensuring your body gets the best of care- so you can get the best out of life.

 Here are some tips to help ensure a successful, speedy resolution.

  • Don’t wait too long before seeking help– excess swelling and inappropriate healing (e.g. scar tissue or lack of flexibility in the injured tissue) can lead to secondary problems.
  • Make sure you get the treatment you need initially– missing sessions in the initial phase can mean the whole thing just drags  on for longer – which is frustrating for everyone!
  • Rest from you sport if need be– the injured tissue needs to heal!  Your Physio will let you know how you can stay fit doing other activities.
  •  Do your homework! Your exercises and management of the injury is vital- we only see you a very short time out of the day so what you do the rest of the time is critical!

For all appointments call 04 499 3504.

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