Hallux valgus and the first metatarsal arch segment: A theoretical biomechanical perspective

Ward M. Glasoe, David J. Nuckley, Paula M. Ludewig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Hallux valgus is a progressive foot deformity characterized by a lateral deviation of the hallux with corresponding medial deviation of the first metatarsal. Late-stage changes may render the hallux painful and without functional utility, leading to impaired gait. Various environmental, genetic, and anatomical predispositions have been suggested, but the exact cause of hallux valgus is unknown. Evidence indicates that conservative intervention for hallux valgus provides relief from symptoms but does not reverse deformity. Part 1 of this perspective article reviews the literature describing the anatomy, pathomechanics, and etiology of hallux valgus. Part 2 expands on the biomechanical initiators of hallux valgus attributed to the first metatarsal. Theory is advanced that collapse of the arch with vertical orientation (tilt) of the first metatarsal axis initiates deformity. To counteract the progression of hallux valgus, we use theory to discuss a possible mechanism by which foot orthoses can bolster the arch and reorient the first metatarsal axis horizontally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


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