3 Causes of Big Toe Pain


Having pain and stiffness in your big toe is a common complaint, but it isn’t always easy to determine the cause without the help of your foot doctor. The cause can range from systemic diseases like arthritis to an injury or structural abnormality like a bunion, so be sure to see your podiatrist for the correct diagnosis and treatment. 

3 other common causes of pain in the big toe include the following:

  1. Hallux rigidus—Hallux is the Latin word for big toe and rigidus means rigid or stiff. The condition of “stiff big toe” is caused by degenerative arthritis and bone spurs in the large joint at the base of the big toe. This condition can often be successfully treated with conservative methods using custom orthotic shoe inserts and over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

  2. Gouty arthritis—Gout is an inflammatory arthritic condition that is caused by excess uric acid in the blood. When the uric acid reaches a certain point, it can produce painful crystals in the joints of the extremities, with the large joint of the big toe frequently being affected. Gout can be avoided by decreasing your intake of foods that are high in purines such as shrimp and fatty meats. Excessive alcohol consumption also increases uric acid and should be decreased or avoided altogether for people who have had several painful gout outbreaks.

  3. Turf toe injury—Turf toe is the name of a condition that affects the ligaments and tendons of the big toe. It is called turf toe because the injury happens frequently on artificial turf surfaces, but this type of injury can occur on any surface. It caused when the big toe is jammed and stressed from the forces of pushing off on your toes that are experienced in sporting activities and exercise.

If you are experiencing pain in your big toe, see your foot doctor for the proper care. Call Achilles Foot and Ankle Surgery, PC located in Martins Ferry, Ohio and St. Clairsville, Ohio, as well as Wheeling West Virginia. With access to advanced technologies, Dr. Bruce G. Blank and his staff can help you manage all of your foot and ankle conditions including heel pain, ankle sprains, toe deformities, fungal toenails, and plantar warts. Call 740-633-4188 or make an appointment online today.