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Common Causes of Big Toe Pain

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 00:00

Big toe pain can significantly disrupt daily activities and overall comfort. To address this issue effectively, it's essential to understand the potential causes behind discomfort in the big toe. Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, redness, and a risk of infection. Bunions, often resulting from ill-fitting shoes, manifest as bony protrusions at the base of the big toe, causing chronic pain and deformity that can reduce mobility. Gout, stemming from excess uric acid buildup, triggers sudden, intense pain and swelling in the big toe joint, making each step excruciating. Arthritis, whether osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, also can target the big toe joint, causing persistent pain, stiffness, and potential joint damage. Fractures within the big toe bones, caused by trauma or overuse, inflict acute pain and hinder mobility. For help with big toe pain, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and treatment.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Chukwuma Ukata, DPM of Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Garner, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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