Toe pain in general is the uncomfortable sensation in your toes. Your toes contain bones, muscles, joints, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments, any of which could cause toe pain. It can be a pain that is constant, brief, feel like pins and needles, throbbing, can be uncomfortable, debilitating, or just irritating. Your big toes are considered the “thumbs of your feet” and because of its size it seems to be the place where most injuries and problems occur and cause big toe pain.
Big toe pain causes:
1. Big toe nerve pain – there are several different causes for this type of toe pain. It could be caused by the entrapment of one of the four digital nerves that go to your big toe. Big toe nerve pain could be from a dysfunction in your lumbar spine, soft tissue entrapment of a nerve in your leg, having a corn, which is a type of toe callus or pressure on your sciatic nerve.
2. Throbbing pain in big toe – this can happen if you stub your big toe, drop something on it, or even having an ingrown toenail.
3. Sharp pain in big toe – this type of toe pain could happen when you put pressure on your big toe could be the result of some type of nerve damage, from a vitamin B deficiency, or Morton’s neuroma, which is a benign neuroma. This is a growth of a nerve tissue tumor that is not cancerous.
4. Big toe joint pain – one cause is Hallux Rigidus, which is the medical term for arthritis of your big toe. It could also be cause by an injury to your big toe, having bunions, bone marrow edema, or gout.
5. Big toe pain running – this is a form of osteoarthritis and at times this type of injury can stop a runner from continuing their training regimen or it can also mean a permanent end to their running if it is a serious issue. The medical terminology for this type of arthritis is Hallux Rigidus which means “immovable big toe.” When you have this the cartilage that is found between your proximal phalanx bone found at the base of your big toe is worn away. Each time the runner bends their foot there is friction between your big toe and the first metatarsal bone of your forefoot which in time can gradually decrease your range of motion and causing toe pain.
6. Big toe pain gout – this is a form of arthritis and when you have gout it is caused by excessive uric acid crystals that have gathered around the joints in your big toe in the synovial fluid or connective tissue. It is a medical condition that seems to happen to men more than women.
7. Pain in big toe tendon – this medical condition is called tendonitis. The tendons go across your feet to your big toe and what helps to pull your feet up and own. Tendonitis develops when the muscles are inflamed and overstressed. It can also cause swelling. When tendonitis affects your big toe is usually caused by too much stress when exercising, the arch of your foot falls, or you have excessive tightening in your calf muscle.
8. Big toe pain and numbness – some people describe this as “feeling like your big toe is asleep.” The usual causes can be damage to your blood vessels in your big toe called peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage, which in diabetics is referred to as neuropathy. It could also be from not wearing the right foot wear such as being too small, wearing high heels that are very tall, tied too tight, shoes are too loose, etc. It could also be caused by bunions, nerve compression from an injury, arthritis, gout, and even being overweight. Big toe pain could be from a big toe deformity like mallet toes, claw toe, or hammertoe. Metatarsalgia which is a medical condition in which the nerves in your feet at the level of your metatarsal heads become compressed or irritated.
As you can see, there are many different causes for big toe pain. The best way to find out what is causing the toe pain is to visit your physician, podiatrist, or orthopedic doctor for an examination. They will be able to diagnose your big toe pain and tell you how to treat it.