Big Toe Joint Pain: Causes and Treatments

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big toe joint painWe’ve all suffered from joint pain from time to time. It’s usually the joints that get the most work, especially those in your fingers, hands, and knees. But, your feet and toe joints can also have aches and pains, and the big toe is prime real estate. The big toe is, in many ways, one of the first points of contact for your body in the world. How many times have you knocked your big toe into the wall, a table leg, or the ground? It is a joint, so it can always develop medical issues. In this article, we are going to take a look at the various causes of big toe joint pain and ways you might be able to treat big toe joint pain.

Causes of Big Toe Joint Pain

Big toe joint pain can cause a number of issues and bring up a number of questions. Can you have arthritis in your big toe? Why there is the pain in my big toe? And, what is turf toe and can it contribute to toe joint pain? The truth is that there are tons of reasons why your big toe can hurt. We’re going to take a look at the various causes and try and sort some of the issues your big toe may face.

1. Injury

One of the most common reasons for big toe joint pain is injury. If you’ve ever stubbed your big toe, you know how much it can hurt, and how easy it to stub your toe out of the blue. One misstep can lead to a trip on the toe or a smack against something. This can cause anything from bruising to an actual break, both of which can affect the big toe joint.

2. Gout

Gout is a medical condition that causes uric acid to build up and form crystals. These crystals tend to deposit themselves in joints, especially in the big toe. This can cause such intense pain, heat, and discomfort that people suffering from gout can have issues walking.

3. Arthritis

Arthritis is a disorder affecting the joints that can cause pain, swelling, and restricted movement. In this case, osteoarthritis tends to be the main culprit, and it is commonly discovered in the big toe. Osteoarthritis tends to degrade the cartilage in the big toe, making it hard to move without discomfort or pain. Osteoarthritis is often connected to an injury to the big toe.

4. Bunions

A bunion is a hard knob that forms due to a malpositioned big toe joint. This bump can push the big toe over to the other toes, especially while wearing footwear.

5. Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is caused when the two sesamoid bones under the big toe area become inflamed. This inflammation causes pain and less joint mobility. This is usually caused by trauma to the sesamoid bones, especially if that trauma is repeated. The trauma usually involves prolonged standing on your toes or tip-toes, and is commonly seen in ballet dancers and basketball players.

6. Turf Toe

A common injury in any sport that requires running and quick stops, this particular big toe joint injury is essentially caused by the toe repeatedly ramming into the end of a boot or shoe when you come to a quick stop. It’s often seen in soccer and football players.

Now that you’ve seen what can cause big toe joint pain, it’s time to move on to what you can do to treat it. Luckily, these problems can be treated in many ways, some of them in the comfort of your own home.

Ways to Relieve Big Toe Joint Pain

Now that we’ve looked at the types of things that can cause big toe joint pain, it’s time to move on to ways you can relieve the pain and treat it.

1. Proper Shoes

You would not believe how much difference a pair of well-fitting shoes can make. Getting your shoes fitted properly will give your feet support, but it can also help avoid the formation of some big toe joint issues. This same goes for athletic shoes. Decent-fitting athletic shoes can help reduce the amount of damage that causes turf toe.

2. Heat and Ice

Much like other injuries, a lot of things that cause big toe joint pain can be easily relieved with treatments of ice (to lower swelling) and heat (to help circulation and joint movement). They are especially helpful for joint pain caused by turf toe and sesamoiditis.

3. Stretching

Stretching before and after an activity that involves your feet (especially anything to do with running) can limit the amount of joint injury you may have otherwise taken.

4. Massage

Like any other joint or muscle injury, massage may help relieve pain and discomfort. Rubbing the injury in a firm, but gentle manner can do wonders.

5. Medications and Creams

There are a number of medications and creams that a doctor may recommend to deal with your big toe joint issues. Steroids, for instance, may be used to reduce pain and swelling. For things like gout, medical attention is a must as you have to treat the toe with medications as well as get your uric acids under control.

6. Surgery

Surgery may be used a last-resort option. This would repair any damage that is too great for self-healing.  It might also remove things such as bone fragments caused by a broken toe that are now lodged in the joint.

As you can see, most of these treatments to relieve pain in your big toe joint are easily done and can be performed in your home.

Don’t Let Big Toe Joint Pain Affect Your Quality of Life

Many people don’t stop to think about it, but our feet and toes are vital parts of the body. They can move us forward in our activities, and most of our weight sits on top of them. When one part of that system breaks down or is in pain, it can affect the rest of the body. Hopefully, this guide has prepared you on how to recognize big toe joint pain and will lead you to the right method of treatment for your particular discomfort.

Related: Treat Gout Naturally at Home with Apple Cider Vinegar



Sources:
Katz, M., “Big Toe Pain — What You Need to Know,” Foot Vitals, http://www.footvitals.com/toes/big-toe-pain.html, last accessed April 24, 2017.
Moyer, C., “What Causes Pain In The Big Toe Joint,” Very Well,   April 23, 2017, https://www.verywell.com/causes-of-pain-at-the-big-toe-joint-1337792, last accessed April 24, 2017.
“Foot Pain,” NHS Choices, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/foot-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx, last accessed April 24, 2017.
“Toe Joint Pain,” Foot Pain Explored, http://www.foot-pain-explored.com/toe-joint-pain.html, last accessed April 24, 2017.
“Big Toe Joint Pain,” Indobis, 2014, http://www.indobis.org/big-toe-joint-pain/, last accessed April 24, 2017.
Orenstein, B., “8 Ways to Ease Arthritis Foot Pain,” Everyday Health, January 15, 2015, http://www.everydayhealth.com/osteoarthritis-pictures/ways-to-ease-arthritis-foot-pain.aspx#06, last accessed April 24, 2017.

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