Tuesday, 25 June 2024 00:00

Causes of Chronic Pain in the Big Toe

Pain in the big toe can arise from a variety of sources affecting its joints, muscles, tendons, and nerves. Chronic big toe pain ranges from dull aches to sharp, tingling sensations, similar to pins and needles. Other symptoms associated with big toe pain include numbness, burning sensations, difficulty moving the toe, and visible swelling. Among the common causes of big toe pain are arthritis, bunions, and calluses, all of which often worsen by natural wear and tear. Injuries like strains and  sprains can also contribute to toe pain. In addition, inflammatory conditions, such as gout or bursitis, and structural problems, like hammer toe or nerve compression, can further complicate matters. Ignoring persistent toe pain can lead to serious complications including chronic discomfort, disability, and nerve damage. Seeking prompt medical attention from a podiatrist is important. This foot doctor can accurately diagnose the underlying cause of chronic big toe pain and suggest effective treatment strategies. If pain in the big toe worsens, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and treatment. 

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Philip C. Caswell, DPM of Family Foot & Ankle Care. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Sparta, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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