How Do I Treat Big Toe Pain?

A bottle of OTC painkillers, which can help with big toe pain.
Severe bunions often require surgery.
Over the counter medication can be used to treat toe pain.
Gout is a common cause of big toe pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The treatments used for big toe pain vary depending on the primary cause for your discomfort. There are several common causes for pain in the big toe and surrounding area, including gout, hallux rigidus, bunions, arthritis, and trauma to the foot or big toe. Most treatments for pain in the big toes will include some kind of pain medication, either over the counter (OTC) or by prescription, as well as surgery in severe cases.

Gout is one cause of big toe pain. This is a condition caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints that often causes redness, swelling, and pain to the toe and surrounding areas of the foot. If symptoms are present and you have not recently injured your foot or participated in any activity that may have caused injury, then gout could be to blame. Treatments for gout-related pain include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs as well as various treatments that may help resolve the causes of gout. These can include eating foods that help combat the build up of uric acid as well as prescription medications.

Big toe pain may also be caused by hallux regidus, a condition characterized by unusual pain and stiffness in the joint of the big toe. Most commonly, this condition coincides with a foot abnormality that results in extra friction or weight being put on the toe. Treatment may include OTC pain medications, prescription drugs, or in severe cases, surgery.

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Bunions may also cause big toe pain, as they are often the result of inflammation and swelling of a fluid filled sac at the base of the big toe. Mild to severe swelling may occur in the area and result in frequent pain when walking. OTC pain medications may be helpful in reducing pain, and wearing wider shoes with special supports may be helpful in lessening the swelling. In some severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the bunion.

Trauma to the big toe can also cause mild to severe toe pain, depending on the injury you've acquired. If you believe your toe may be broken or sprained, you should see a doctor right away to have the situation evaluated and to receive the proper treatment. Pain medication will likely be given, and your toe may be splinted or wrapped to help it heal and to relieve some of the discomfort.

If you suffer from arthritis pain in the big toe, you may feel better taking an OTC pain medication as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements to help strengthen your joints. Both methods may provide some relief for mild to moderate arthritis pain. If pain becomes severe or worsens over time, see your doctor about other potential medications and therapies that may be used.

Sometimes applying ice to the toe may help alleviate swelling and pain resulting from one of various conditions. You may also consider wrapping the toe with a bandage to keep it still and prevent further trauma or swelling. If big toe pain persists longer than expected or you do not know the cause of the discomfort, see your doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis.

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Discuss this Article

anon343125
Post 7

I have not been jogging all my life and I started just recently. I woke up suddenly one morning to a severe big toe pain. I read many articles and it likely is a result of my running which was really extensive. Some days I went for two hours. What is the best medication? --Bruno

anon338564
Post 6

I have extreme pain in both my toes on the left side of my foot. I hear my big toe cracking as if a bone was out of place and it hurts so bad. When I bend it, the bone underneath the big toe seems to be sticking out and on the right toe, it just hurts. Is it possible that I broke both toes?

anon323633
Post 4

I have pain in my foot toe due to uric acid.

CopperPipe
Post 3

I used to have terrible big toe pain after running, and it ended up being caused by the type of shoes I was wearing combined with an ingrown toenail -- talk about painful! I was just glad that my big toe pain wasn't diabetes related -- I'd hate to give up my morning run!

pharmchick78
Post 2

@googlefanz -- Well, big toe pain with swelling is the pretty classic sign of gout. However, are you experiencing foot pain or just big toe pain? That could make a difference.

Also, are you by any chance a runner? Big toe pain and running can sometimes be related. For instance, you could have fractured one of your toe bones, or strained a joint, which would explain the pain and swelling.

These are just a few of the alternative big toe pain causes, but I'd recommend you to go to a podiatrist. They'll be able to tell you what's really going on, so you can fix it ASAP.

googlefanz
Post 1

What could cause a swollen big toe with pain? I have recently been having terrible big toe joint pain, and, although I really don't want to believe this, I'm starting to think it might be gout.

Isn't that the main symptom, pain in the big toe joint? Do you think that my big toe pain is from gout, or could there be another cause?

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