Hallux valgus (HV) has been linked to functional disability and greater risk of falling in older adults. However, specific gait changes in individuals with HV are unclear. This systematic review investigated gait parameters associated with HV in otherwise healthy adults. Electronic databases to include cross-sectional studies with clearly defined HV and non-HV comparison groups. Nine studies included a total of 589 participants were included. Three plantar pressure studies reported increased hallux loading and medial forefoot loading, while one study found reduced first metatarsal loading in HV participants. HV participants demonstrated less ankle and rearfoot motion during terminal stance and increased intrinsic muscle activity. Most studies reported no differences in spatio-temporal parameters; however, one study found reduced speed, step length and less stable gait patterns in older adults with HV.
Hallux Valgus impacts on specific gait parameters, and further understanding of potentially modifiable factors is important for prevention and management of Hallux Valgus. The cause and effect relationships cannot be inferred from cross-sectional studies, thus prospective studies are called for in order to elucidate the relationship between HV and functional disability.