Question: When is a bunion not a bunion?

Answer: When it’s an arthritic big toe joint.

The normal range of motion for a big toe joint is 65 to 75 degrees of dorsiflexion (upward movement) and 30 to 35 degrees of plantar flexion (downward movement).

What is Hallux Limitus

 When this movement is restricted due to deterioration of the cartilage in the big toe joint and/or the formation of arthritic bone spurs around that joint, the condition is called hallux limitus (limited big toe joint movement).

Cause of Hallux Limitus 

  • Genetic predisposition 
  • Arthritis
  • Hypermobility
  • Improper footwear 
  • Injury 


  • Pain that worsens with activity 
  • Inflammation and swelling 
  • Numbness and tingling 
  • Limited movement 
  • Lump of callus 


For most cases of hallux limitus, a minimally invasive procedure called a Valenti Arthroplasty can be performed through a tiny incision to remodel the arthritic spurs and big toe joint, allowing an improved range of motion. 

In-Office Surgery

This procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis at the State-of-the-Art offices of Laser Foot Surgery Center.

For moderate cases, treat these conditions by removing some of the bone(s) in the big toe joint and inserting “joint implants” which can be made out of plastic, metal or silicone.

In more severe cases when the big toe joint is unable to move at all, the condition is called hallux rigidus (rigid/arthritic big toe joint). A fusion may be necessary to be performed.