Big Toe Pain

Big toe pain is common, and it can affect everything you do from running to walking, and even just standing. Big toe pain can come as a result of multiple conditions, such as arthritis, bunions, gout, and bursitis. 

Treatment for big toe pain depends on the underlying cause. If you are experiencing pain in your big toes, Dr. Melhuish will be able to determine the cause and talk you through the best treatment options.

Holding foot due to big toe pain
Holding up toe because of big toe pain

What All Can Cause Big Toe Pain?

Many different conditions can cause pain in our big toes. Some of the most common conditions include the following:

  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. It can affect any joint in the body, including the big toe. Arthritis is the most common cause of big toe pain, and symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving the joint.
  • Bunions: Bunions are a partial dislocation of the joint at the base of the big toe.
  • Hallux rigidus: Hallux rigidus is a condition that causes the big toe to become stiff and inflexible. This can cause pain and difficulty moving the toe.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals form in the joints. The crystals can cause inflammation and pain in the big toe. Gout symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the joint.
  • Bone spurs: Bone spurs are small, bony growths that form on the bones of the foot. They can cause pain and inflammation in the big toe.
  • Turf toe: Turf toe is a type of sports injury that affects the big toe. It occurs when the big toe is hyperextended or bent too far backward. This can cause pain, inflammation, and swelling in the big toe.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the bursae, which are tiny fluid-filled sacs that protect and cushion the joints. Bursitis can occur in any joint, including the big toe.
  • Ingrown toenails:  Ingrown toenails are a common cause of pain and inflammation in the big toe. They occur when the toenail grows into the skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling.
  • Trauma: A trauma, such as a fall or sports injury, can cause pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the big toe.

What are the Symptoms of Big Toe Pain?

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Inflammation: The toe may be swollen, red, and warm to the touch.
  • Stiffness: The toe may be stiff and difficult to move.

How is Big Toe Pain Treated?

The treatment plan for big toe pain depends on the cause, as each cause requires a different treatment. However, some of the most common treatments include:

  • Medication: Ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce inflammation and pain. Prescription medications such as corticosteroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be prescribed to treat arthritis or gout.
  • Physical therapy: This can help improve the range of motion and strength in the big toe. In addition, physical therapy can help reduce inflammation and pain. This may include exercises, massage, and heat or cold therapy.
  • Custom orthotics: These prescription shoe inserts can address many foot problems by properly realigning the foot as it moves and letting your weight be distributed evenly again.
  • Injection therapy: This involves injecting a medication into the joint to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be necessary if the big toe is severely damaged. Surgery may involve repairing or replacing the joint. In addition, surgery may be required to remove the uric acid crystals from the joint in people with gout. The process of removing the crystals is known as gouty tophi removal.

How to Prevent Big Toe Pain

There is no one specific way to prevent big toe pain. However, some things can be done to help reduce its development.

Some tips include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can stress the joints and increase the risk of developing big toe pain.
  • Exercising regularly: Doing this can help improve the range of motion and strength in the big toe. In addition, it can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Wearing supportive shoes or custom orthotics: Both options can help reduce joint stress and prevent injuries.
  • Stretching your big toes regularly: Stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries in all parts of the body.
  • Avoiding high-impact activities: Avoiding high-impact activities can help reduce the risk of injuries, and lower-impact activities like yoga can be done instead.
Bunion on foot causing big toe pain

Get Help for Big Toe Pain

If you are experiencing any pain in your big toes, come see our team for diagnosis and treatment. The sooner the condition is treated, the easier the treatment will more likely be.

Schedule an appointment with Sierra Foot & Ankle by phone or by filling out our online contact form.

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2350 South Carson St
Suite 3
Carson City, NV 89701


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