Big Toe Joint Pain

Big toe joint pain can be due to abnormalities or injuries to any of the structures in the toe, including skin, nerves, bone, blood vessels, and soft tissues. Since our feet are constantly exposed to injury by walking, running, or other athletic activity, and moving around, toe pain is a fairly common symptom. The most common causes of toe pain include ingrown toenails, blisters, bunions, corns, and calluses.

Other causes of toe pain may be attributed to hallux rigidus (stiffness in your big toe), sesamoid Injuries of the foot, gout, and hammertoe. Read further to learn about these conditions.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus (also known as “stiff big toe”) is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It causes pain and stiffness in the joint, and with time it gets increasingly harder to bend the toe. “Hallux” refers to the big toe, while “rigidus” indicates that the toe is rigid and cannot move. Hallux rigidus is actually a form of degenerative arthritis.

This disorder can be very troubling and even disabling since we use the big toe whenever we walk, stoop down, climb up, or even stand. Many patients confuse hallux rigidus with a bunion, which affects the same joint, but they are very different conditions requiring different treatments.
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Sesamoid Injuries of The Foot

Sesamoid injuries can involve the bones, tendons, and/or surrounding tissue in the joint. A sesamoid is a bone embedded in a tendon. Sesamoids are found in several joints in the body. In the normal foot, the sesamoids are two pea-shaped bones located in the underside of the forefoot near the great toe, one on the outer side of the foot and the other closer to the middle of the foot (in the ball of the foot, beneath the big toe joint).
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Gout is a disorder that results from the build-up of uric acid in the tissues or a joint. It most often affects the joint of the big toe.

Gout attacks are caused by deposits of crystallized uric acid in the joint. Uric acid is present in the blood and eliminated in the urine, but in people who have gout, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes in the joints. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of purines, chemicals that are found naturally in our bodies and in food. Some people develop gout because their kidneys have difficulty eliminating normal amounts of uric acid, while others produce too much uric acid.
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Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.

Hammertoe usually starts out as a mild deformity and gets progressively worse over time. In the early stages, the hammertoe is flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures or with minimally invasive in-office surgical procedures. But if left untreated, a hammertoe can become more rigid and will not respond to nonsurgical treatment.
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Big Toe Joint Pain Assessment in Silverdale, Washington

If you have persistent big toe joint pain that doesn’t improve after 2 to 5 days of home treatment, schedule an office visit with our podiatrists. You can make an appointment online or call (360) 443-5632 to schedule your appointment.

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