the question might be stupid, but does using very rigid forefoot shoes help ?
Thinking of shoe with carbon plate (such as Nike Vaporfly) or quite thick and stiff midsole with rocker (such as Hoka Bondi)
Two things have helped me with my Hallux Rigidus pain: a carbon fiber orthotic placed under the insole of any shoe that I'm wearing (running or otherwise) and, as strange as it may sound, a daily scoop of Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate (which I heard about on another message board). The collagen has had the biggest impact I think, because it has allowed me to get back to running.
I recently bought a pair of Hoka Carbon X's, in hopes that the carbon plate would keep my foot rigid enough that I would be able to run pain free. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the foam between the insole and the carbon plate, but I still have to use the carbon fiber orthotic in these shoes. That's just my anecdotal experience.[/quote]
I would agree with this as good mitigation for Hallux Rigidus or lesser metatarsal overload. I would add that carbon fiber in the midsole of shoe (next%, carbonX) or plate insole is not necessarily needed as prior/current shoes such as Saucony Mirage, Hoka Bondi/Clifton, Altra Paradigm, Nike Pegasus...all will significantly reduce flexion at the Metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints as they are on the stiff side of the flexibility scale. Many runners do not like these shoes for their lack of flexibility, but for folks looking to reduce stress on the MTP joints, bending stiffness is the critical feature in a shoe.
If you find this is not enough I would suggest speaking to a good orthotist or podiatrist about custom orthotics and possibly a Morton's extension for Hallux Rigidus or a good carbon plate orthosis to cover all the MTP's.
Resurrecting an old thread...
I have been having issues with my big toes for a few years now. I gotta say, the Carbon X has been a lifesaver for me. The combination of the stiff sole, and the heavy rocker in the forefoot work well for me. My only gripe is that I wear out the areas in the forefoot where there is minimal outsole covering the ends of the carbon plate relatively quickly.