Big Toe Joining Pain – What is it?

Pain in the big toe is a common symptom and complaint seen as a Podiatrist. There are many reasons you can experience pain in the big toe as listed below: 

1. Gout

Common symptoms associated with gout are redness, swelling and heat isolated at the big toe joint. It is caused by a build up of uric acid in the blood stream causing an excess amount of urate crystal build up in a joint. The big toe joint is a very common area to experience gout and if progressed can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, even the smallest touch, such as the weight of a bed sheet can cause a considerable amount of pain. It is important to ensure you seek medical advice and assessment with this condition as it is commonly managed with medication. As a podiatrist we can aid in restricting range of motion at this joint and offloading pressure applied to this area to decrease pain and discomfort until it has subsided. 

2. Osteoarthritisut

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis, and it can affect joints anywhere in the body. When cartilage in the joints wears down, bones become exposed and rub against each other. This causes swelling and pain in the joint and can limit your range of motion. The big toe joint (1st metatarsophalangeal joint) is a very common area to experience OA. It is important to ensure you have proper fitted shoes and a decrease in pressure to this area to prevent further degeneration of this joint.

3. Bunions

Bunions are another condition very commonly seen in podiatry clinics. They are commonly caused by poor fitting shoes and can have a genetic influence. Osteoarthritis is commonly seen in this condition also, due to a break down in the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint. A change in footwear and orthotic therapy are commonly used to manage this condition and in progressed cases can result in surgery.

4. Sesamoiditis

The sesamoids are 2 bones that run underneath your big toe joint that work to increase the leverage of the muscles inserting into the area, as they are underneath the foot they are also exposed to pressure from weight bearing. Sesamoiditis often presents with inflammation, pain and swelling underneath the big toe and usually requires a decrease in pressure to the area to help subside.