Hallux rigidus is a condition caused by arthritis at the base of the big toe. It commonly affects active people as a result of repeated minor trauma. The stiffness of the toe is especially noticeable on the upward bending caused by walking or running. This stiffness causes pain. A bump on the top of the big toe can be noticed. Surgery should only be undertaken if your symptoms are significant. Surgery involves removing excess bony prominence, fusion of the big toe joint or a total toe joint replacement.