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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hallux Rigidus: How can massage therapy prevent the bones rubbing together?

Hello Gary,

My wife is 55 years old. She has seen 3 Podiatists. They all said she has Hallux Rigidus. She is scheduled for surgery. I found your web site and now have reservations.

She used to be an avid walker but the pain is too bad and she stopped a few months ago.
Not until then did she see the first doctor about the problem.

She has lost significant cartilage and there are bone spurs. Besides loss of mobility, the pain is mainly from bone rubbing against bone. From what I understand, part of the procedure will be to shave bone to eliminate the grinding/rubbing.

** I read all of your articles and watched video. Here is what I didn't find the answer to and don't understand: How can the message therapy eliminate the bones rubbing together. Even if mobility is restored, won't she still be left with the bone grinding/rubbing ?

Thank you for your time and assistance.

Gary responds:
If there is some movement then she does not have "hallux rigidus". There are still likely to be some cartilage left, although it may be thin and missing in places and there may be bone spurring at the joint margins.

Conservative procedures should be thoroughly exhausted, being given time to work, before going down the one-way street of surgery.

Movement stirs the synovial fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint tissues, stimulating cellular activity, including cartilage regrowth. Lack of movement, such as occurs with thight shoes, toe splinting and most orthotics reduces joint nutrition and may accelerate the slide towards surgical fusing of the joint.

The technique I use involves pulling the joint surfaces apart and then smoothly moving the joints back and forth, gliding and twisting. It is possible that the procedure smooths off some of those bony joint margin spurs as well.

It is most important to support this procedure with good joint nutrition, as well as to address any other factors that may be adding to the problem - one of the most common being the toxic effects of many pharmaceuticals, such as anti depressants, cholesterol lowering drugs and bone-sparing drugs.

It continues to really bother me why medical experts continue to refuse to even consider this simple and cheap procedure when it so clearly works for the majority of sore toe sufferers. You will not find it in the medical text books.

Incidentally, I use this procedure on my fingers all the time because of the stress and strain they are under - what with the combination of hours of massaging clients daily and then slamming about on a mountain bike for recreation!

It works.

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Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with my big toe. Have had it for 13 years and am 39. I had given up tennis and walking because of pain and used orthotics in all of my shoes. I was all set to have surgery after seeing podiatrists and orthopedists, but decided to try acupunture first. That helped tremendously and then I saw Dr. Moller's video and decided to try his method as well. I am now just taking the vitamins and minerals that he recommends, massaging my toe and not using my orthotics except for excercising. My toe is way better. I'm still not in heels and haven't tried tennis yet, but I can walk without orthotics, without pain. It can't hurt to try the non-invasive method before surgery. It is working for me.

liz said...

what exercise is recommended for those with hallux rigidus?

Gary Moller said...

Hi Liz, First of all "hallux Rigidus" is a nisnomer: in all but the fewest cases, there is some movement, so "rigid" is not the best descriptive word.

If you read all that I have written on this site about the topic and follow the nutrition and treatment, including dealing with any medication that may be causing the problem (asthma medication, statins etc) then you can gradually increase exercise. This is basically getting about barefoot, walking on soft grass and a sandy beach. Joints love movement!!! But start carefully and only every 2nd or 3rd day.