Big Toe Pain

Big Toe Pain

What is Big Toe Pain?

As a podiatrist, big toe pain is one of the more common conditions we’ll see in our clinic. The pain is often located at the first metatarsophalangeal joint (1st MTPJ), which is the joint where the big toe meets the foot. Often these symptoms can become debilitating and affect ones quality of life, hence the importance of having it properly managed. While the pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, there are plenty of treatment options to assure you get back on your feet pain-free!

What is the cause of the pain?

Big toe pain may stem from a number of causes and will be individual for everyone. In order to appropriately manage your symptoms, it will be essential to book an appointment with your local podiatrist and undergo a full assessment. Here is a list of some of the common conditions we may see:
  • Arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Both forms of arthritis may cause the joints to become inflamed, stiff and painful over time, often affecting walking and quality of life. They can often be diagnosed with appropriate imaging and clinical assessments
  • Bunions
  • A bunion is a bony bump that forms the joint at the base of the big toe. It is often hereditary and causes the big toe to deviate towards the other toes, resulting in pain and difficulty wearing shoes
  • Gout
  • Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, occurring when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. The big toe joint is a common site for gout attacks and may cause inflammation and pain. It is often referred to as the most painful condition at the big toe joint.

Common symptoms of Big Toe Pain

The symptoms of big toe pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. In general, however, patients may experience the following:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness in the big toe joint.
The pain may be worse with activity and may improve with rest. Patients may also notice a bump on the joint, difficulty bending or straightening the big toe, or difficulty walking.

How do we treat Big Toe Pain?

The treatment of big toe pain will depend on the underlying cause. There are a number of treatment options that we will apply based on the individual’s presenting condition, which may include:
  • Assuring an accurate diagnosis via scans and clinical assessments
  • Offloading the big toe using strapping and padding.
  • Footwear assessments
  • Gait/ walking assessments
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Manual & soft tissue therapy
  • Custom orthotics to offload the big toe joint
Further treatment may be required for some conditions, such as the use of medication and lifestyle changes for patients experiencing gout. Surgery is a consideration for bunions and arthritis but is often used as a last resort when conservative methods have not been successful.

Come visit us and The Movement Centre in Randwick

If you have been struggling from big toe pain, be sure to book in with your Movement Centre podiatrist today. The big toe can be very complex, so it is important to have a podiatrist accurately assess your issue and guide you through a treatment plan
Disclaimer: The Movement Centre provides this information as an educational service. The information contained on this website and in this blog is not intended to serve as or replace actual medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance should consult their local Randwick Physio, general practitioner, medical specialist, or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.