There are many reasons why the big toe could hurt. We put a tremendous amount of weight on this part of our foot. It’s a wonder our big toes can hold up to so much pounding.
I’d like to share some of the most common reasons why the big toe could hurt.
Ingrown Toenail – this condition isn’t always so obvious. A big toenail that grows into the skin can cause the whole toe to hurt. It could be painful with or without shoes on. Usually, pressing on it a certain way would trigger pain. Fortunately, an ingrown nail is easy for us to diagnose and treat.
Arthritis – you don’t have to be 80 years old to get arthritis in the big toe. There’s an arthritic condition called Hallux Limitus that can occur as young as 35. Certain activities and shoes trigger the pain. It can make the big toe feel quite uncomfortable. The easy way to diagnose it is an X-ray. If caught early enough arthritis of the big toe joint can be treated without surgery.
Sesamioditis – this strange word refers to inflammation of a small bone under the big toe called a sesamoid. We have two of these bones per foot. The pain from this would mostly be under the big toe. People who have high arches and are very active are most prone to sesamioditis. An exam alone can diagnose this but an X-ray is needed to determine if a fracture or arthritis is present.
Nerve Pain – there’s a nerve on the outside of the big toe where the toe connects to the foot that can get irritated. Sharp or burning pain are most evident. It can be caused by certain shoes, a minor injury or certain activities. Hikers can get this because of the strain on their feet being on uneven surfaces. Since there are no visible signs of a nerve condition, an exam and X-rays are needed to make an accurate diagnosis.
There are many more conditions that can make the big toe hurt. Any swelling or discoloration of the big toe or any part of the foot should be attended to immediately.
Dr. Anthony Weinert
As one of the premier podiatry centers in Troy, MI, our team at Stop Feet Pain Fast Institute also provides 5-star-rated foot, ankle, and heel care to patients from Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Clawson, Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills & West Bloomfield, MI, and surrounding areas.