Background

Excessive deviation of the distal phalanx in abduction frequently occurs in advanced stages of hallux rigidus but not in hallux valgus. Therefore, theoretically there should be no significant differences in the hallux interphalangeal angle (HIPA) between individuals with normal feet, those with hallux valgus, and those with mild hallux limitus. The objective of the present study was thus to determine if significant differences in HIPA exist in the early stages of hallux valgus or hallux limitus deformities.

Methods

The hallux interphalangeal angle was measured in three groups of participants: a control group with normal feet (45 participants), a hallux valgus group (49 participants), and a hallux limitus group (48 participants). Both of the pathologies were at an early stage. A dorsoplantar radiograph under weightbearing conditions was taken for each individual, and measurements (HIPA and hallux abductus angle [HAA]) were taken using AutoCAD (Autodesk Inc, San Rafael, California) software. Intergroup comparisons of HIPA, and correlations between HIPA, HAA, and hallux dorsiflexion were calculated.

Results

The comparisons revealed no significant differences in the values of HIPA between any of the groups (15.2 ± 5.9 degrees in the control group, 15.5 ± 3.9 degrees in the hallux valgus group, and 16.15 ± 4.3 in the hallux limitus group; P  =  0.634). The Pearson correlation coefficients in particular showed no correlation between hallux dorsiflexion, HAA, and HIPA.

Conclusions

For the study participants, there were similar deviations of the distal phalanx of the hallux with respect to the proximal phalanx in normal feet and in feet with the early stages of the hallux limitus and hallux valgus deformities.

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