Gait style as an etiology to chronic postural pain. Part I. Functional hallux limitus

HJ Dananberg
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A common, but locally asymptomatic and therefore rarely recognized functional inability of the first metatarsophalangeal joint to dorsiflex strictly during gait is described. Normal motion is present in this joint during nonweight-bearing examination; therefore this is referred to as functional hallux limitus. Since this joint forms the pivot about which the entire body advances during each step, this disturbance in function, when repeated thousands of times on a daily basis, can alter foot and postural biomechanics. It can cause and perpetuate many chronic postural ailments, including lower back pain. When functional hallux limitus is specifically addressed in an orthotic treatment plan, 77% of long-term chronic postural pain patients exhibit 50% to 100% improvement in their overall condition, in spite of failing previous therapy on their specific site of pain and never exhibiting any foot symptomatology.