Conditions that Cause Toe Pain

Conditions that Cause Toe Pain
Conditions that Cause Toe Pain

Conditions that Cause Toe Pain

The Top 4 Common Causes of Toe Pain—Should a Doctor Be Consulted?

As small as they are, toes are extremely important. They are integral to a person’s ability to remain balanced, both when standing and walking. These tiny appendages allow people to jump, dance and run at incredible speeds.

People often take their toes for granted, at least until they start experiencing toe pain. It’s often surprising how such a little member of the body can affect so much of a person’s life. When a person has issues with their toes, walking, standing, just about any type of movement can cause excruciating pain.

4 Common Causes of Toe Pain

There are a number of factors contributing to painful feet and toes. The following 4 are the most common causes of toe pain.

1. Ingrown Toenails

One of the most common causes of toe pain is an ingrown toenail. This is when the corner of the toenail grows into the skin covering the toe, instead of on top of it. Symptoms include pain, redness and swelling. If not treated, infection has been known to occur.

Wearing shoes that crowd the toes and cutting toenails too short are often the culprits that cause ingrown toenails. While this is a common problem, it should be evaluated by a doctor since complications can arise for diabetic patients, and it can contribute to skin and bone infections.

2. Bunions

Bunions are boney growths on the joint of the big toe. They protrude while pushing the big toe diagonally into the smaller toes. This can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition if the bunion gets large enough. Symptoms include pain, redness and toe immobility.

While there are many people who live successfully with bunions, precautions should be taken. Comfortable shoes should always be worn to prevent pain or numbness of the toes, even if person isn’t experiencing persistent toe pain.

If the bunion get larger, is causing more pain or immobility, a doctor should be consulted. Over time, bunions could cause bursitis or hammertoe. The good news is that they can be surgically treated to prevent further pain, damage and deformity.

3. Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation that targets various joints of the body, including those of the toes. Weight, family history and ill-fitting shoes, particularly high heels, are risk factors of this condition. Pain, stiffness, popping or clicking noises, and swelling are common symptoms, most of which make walking difficult.

Medications, especially anti-inflammatory medications, are often recommended. Surgery is sometimes necessary.

4. Gout

Gout has many of the same symptoms as other causes of toe pain: swelling, pain and redness. However, these symptoms can often be extreme. The swelling causes the big toe to increase significantly in size, and the redness can progress from bright red to purple. Quite often, gout pain begins at night and can last for hours.

This condition is caused by excessive uric acid. Over time, uric acid crystals build up around joints and lead to the symptoms listed. Anyone dealing with this condition should visit their doctor. According to, gout could be a sign of other serious conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.

There’s No Need to Suffer in Silence—Treatments Are Available

For anyone suffering from painful toes, a trip to the doctor is in order. With the many advances in medicine throughout the years, painful conditions can be reversed or the pain lessened considerably. Finally, instead of suffering in silence, people can get relief from their toe pain.

If you are suffering from toe pain contact Houston Foot and Ankle. Dr. Donald Stran is a Podiatrist serving the Houston and Friendswood areas. To learn more about the procedures treated at Houston Foot and Ankle or to schedule an appointment please call any of our locations listed below.

Friendswood: (281) 992-0006
Missouri City: (281) 741-3017
Lake Jackson: (979) 297-8500

Dr. Donald Stran

Dr. Donald C. Stran has practiced in the community since 1987. He is Board Certified and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is currently a teaching physician with the St. Joseph’s Medical Center podiatric residency program.

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