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What Is Causing Your Big Toe Pain?

If you have pain in your big toe, you know that it’s more than annoying. This type of pain can interfere with even the most basic movements – even just standing.

Our big toes have big jobs too. They help keep us stable when we’re on our feet and help absorb the shock of walking and running. Big toes also control over-pronation.

Because they’re subject to constant stress, big toe pain is very common. But what is causing your pain? Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM urges you to visit us for an accurate assessment of the problem and individualized treatment.

Here are a few common big toe problems and injuries:

Bunion. In this deformity, the big toe pushes inward against the other toes which forces the big toe joint in the other direction and enlarges the joint. It becomes painful to move the big toe and wearing shoes is difficult. Arthritis is a common cause of bunions as is wearing shoes that are too narrow, but you may inherit this tendency from your family. Custom-fitted orthotics can help redistribute pressure away from the bunion and bunion pads will reduce friction. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases.

Gout. Sometimes the body builds up too much uric acid and then crystals made from the acid develop, often in the big toe joint. This is called gout, a form of arthritis, and causes extreme pain, swelling and tenderness in the big toe. A gout attack can be eased by icing the area, resting and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication with your doctor’s permission. Those who suffer from chronic gout can benefit from limiting meat, seafood and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing exercise time.

Hallux Rigidus. This is another condition caused by arthritis. Hallux rigidus, meaning “stiff toe,” causes stiffness and pain around the big toe so it becomes hard to push off for a step. This problem can be caused by heredity but also by the anatomy of the foot or trauma. Symptoms can be relieved with shoe inserts, pain relievers and even changing shoes, but often surgery is required for significant deformity.

Sesamoiditis. The sesamoid bones are tiny and embedded in tendons around the big toe. When they become inflamed or fractured, you’ll feel pain in the ball of the foot under the big toe. The R.I.C.E. method of Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevating the leg can help relieve pain as can pain medication and wearing stiff-soled shoes to relieve pressure.

Turf Toe. When the big toe is repeatedly jammed or subjected to extreme force, the ligaments around it may be sprained. Athletes and dancers often suffer from turf toe. R.I.C.E. treatment can help relieve the pain and the toe should be immobilized for complete healing.

Don’t Let Big Toe Pain Keep You Down

Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat all conditions that cause toe pain. We handle many treatments and surgeries right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. We can help relieve your big toe pain so call us today!