Big Toe Joint, Hammer Toe & Bunionette Problems:
Big Toe Knuckle Pain [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment]
Big toe knuckle pain can be PAINFUL: Common causes are #1 Hallux Rigidus, #2 Bunion Pain, #3 Sesamoiditis, and #4 Turf Toe Pain. Fix it 100%.
- Big toe joint pain can be improved with a few simple treatment changes.
- We are foot doctors & we see this problem get better almost every day.
- The goal is to solve this problem without medication or surgery if possible.
So, let’s GO!
Table of Contents
Bump on top of big toe knuckle pain treatment video:
What causes pain in the big toe knuckle:
Top 5 Big Toe Joint Causes Picture & Photo Gallery:
- A bunion is a pre-dislocation of the big toe joint.
- Big toe joint arthritis is also known as hallux rigidus and can form a very large toe joint spur.
- A turf toe is the hyperextension and bending of the big toe joint. This can cause ligament and tendon damage.
- Sesamoiditis of the big toe joint is the inflammation and possible fracture of the two bones underneath your big toe joint.
- Gout in the big toe joint is the buildup of the crystal substance called uric acid.
So, check out the big toe diseases by clicking on the photo gallery for descriptions!
So, check out the big toe diseases by clicking on the photo gallery for descriptions!
Most Common Causes:
The five most common causes of big toe joint knuckle pain:
- A bunion is large, not be bones.
- It is when you’re big toe knuckle buckles in towards your other foot.
- You develop a big pump at this point.
- This is not actually extra bone growth, but it is a near dislocation of the big toe joint.
- The fancy name for this is called hallux valgus. This is when the big toe shifts in position.
- The actual toe shifts towards the lesser toes. Sometimes the second toe can cross over the big toe joint.
- This usually results in a wide and foot that can be red, irritated, and sometimes swollen on the big toe joint knuckle.
- Most bunions are due to a problem with your biomechanics.
Treatments for a bunion:
- Wearing shoes that do not rub on the inside of the big toe joint.
- You can purchase a pad or gel pad to wear over the top of the big toe bunion site.
- The number one solution is generally to get a good soft orthotic from your podiatrist.
Longer-term solutions include :
- Improving your flexibility and correcting the original biomechanics that causes this problem in the first place.
- Wearing good supportive shoes and orthotics.
- Visit your podiatrist for possible procedures, including bunion surgery if it is severe and financed.
- Big toe joint arthritis is probably the number two cause of all problems. In fact, it is even common for this to be combined with bunion pain.
- The only real way to know what is causing your foot pain is to see what it looks like on an x-ray.
- In general, if you are younger and very flexible, you are more likely to have foot pain due to a bunion, but if you are older and have lots of foot trauma, you are more likely to have arthritis.
- If the top of the big toe joint starts to jam, it will start to lead to causing arthritis after a few years.
- This arthritis will eventually lead to extensive pain and a stiff joint.
- This is probably the second most common cause of big toe knuckle pain.
- This is especially common with running and heavy amounts of walking.
- The more time you spend on your feet during the day, the more this type of knuckle pain will cause you problems.
- Gout is a pervasive problem that can occur in the knuckles of your feet, especially the big toe joint.
- Gout is a build-up of something called uric acid in your big toe joint.
- This can lead to severe pain for a few days that starts to get better by the end of the week.
- This can usually happen right after you wake up and is less related to long periods of walking.
- Although this pain is the most common if you already have bunion or big toe joint arthritis.
Big Toe Joint Gout Treatment:
- The best way to take care of your diet is, unfortunately, to see your podiatrist.
- Most of our patients can call us as soon as a gout attack occurs, and having seen them before. We can electronically send them a medication.
- The good news is as long as we know your health history and what is causing your pain, we can send in the medication electronically.
- So even if you’re having pain in the morning or on Friday or Saturday night, we will do our best to make you feel better!
- Another way to think of turf toe is to think of a sprain of your big toe knuckle joint.
- The ligaments across the bottom of the big toe joint can be strained or damaged.
- This can also cause cartilage damage to the joint.
- There are many different stages of turf toe. Some can feel in a couple of weeks. Some even keep NFL players out for an entire season!
- The picture below depicts exactly what the turf toe looks like.
- Turf toe can happen after playing sports.
- This is usually a common injury following jamming your toe while running or playing sports.
- If you stop really fast and jam your big toe, there is a good chance that you are talking about turf toe.
- Don’t let this injury of the big toe knuckle keep you down!
Turf toe treatment:
- In general, the best way to treat turf toe is to diagnose and make sure that this is your problem first.
- The second thing to do is get yourself a good pair of shoes, the perfect pair of running shoes.
- My favorite way to treat turf toe is to get a rigid insert into your shoe.
- Simply putting this into your shoe will prevent your big toe from bending.
- The turf toe still needs the heal, which can take weeks or even months.
- But while it is healing, your foot is starting to feel better!
Big Toe Joint Home Treatment Infographic:
Big Toe Joint Injury or Surgery Treatment:
- If you think you might have a severe turf toe, a severe tear or sprain, a broken big toe joint or broken big toe, or you have just had surgery: this guide may be able to help you!
- Just make sure to check with your podiatrist because a severe injury will require imaging, biomechanical evaluation, and a good discussion to prevent anything from going more wrong.
- For surgery, purposes make sure to discuss with your podiatrist To see what is recommended, as every surgery is unique, and there are pros and cons to all treatment methods.
Big Toe Joint Fracture, Sprain, or Surgery Products:
- If you have a traumatic injury such as a broken bone or ligament tear, these products may be able to help you.
- The best way to do this is, of course, to see your podiatrist and get evaluated with an x-ray, ultrasound, and potentially even an MRI or CT scan.
- If you cannot do so, it may benefit you to be in a cast, fractured boot, or even keep the weight off of it with a rolling knee scooter or other protective devices.
- We as podiatrists frequently take patients off work for a very long period of time when they suffer a traumatic injury. Unfortunately, there is no other way around us in labor jobs.
- If you have a sit-down job, there are ways to get people back to work quicker, but this can be impossible otherwise.
- Just remember these injuries can take a very long time, specifically 2 to 3 months or more, to come back from if you’re going to be on your feet all day. There is a long recovery time and healing time in most cases.
Big Toe Joint Injury & Surgery Immobilization:
- There are pros and cons to using a boot to treat your big toe joint injury. If you are immobilized too long, the cons are that you will gradually become stiff and overworked to your other leg.
- The Pros are that your injured heel will hopefully have a chance to heal gradually!
- Our favorite fracture boots and their supplies:
Big Toe Arthritis and Hallux Rigidus:
- One of the best treatment options for a stiff big toe is a stiff orthotic.
- The big toe can become arthritic, and what causes the pain is the bone grinding on a joint that cannot move.
- Getting a rigid carbon insole can make a huge difference in preventing the bend of the big toe joint.
- Out of the big toe joint products in the next table, the carbon insole is worth looking at for relieving the big toe joint bed.
- A good over-the-counter orthotic can provide a similar result, and we would otherwise prefer those.
Offloading and Scooter Treatment:
- If you cannot use your foot, it needs to be immobilized: we have found success with offloading the scooters in these products.
- Crutches can be difficult long term, whereas scooters can really help you get around and to work if you have a sit-down job in this been okay-ed with your podiatrist.
- These are our favorite knee scooters and walking devices:
Best Big Toe Joint Products:
- There are usually two phases to treating big toe joint pain
- The two phases of treatment include controlling the acute inflammation with protection and correcting the biomechanics, which led to the problem in the first place.
- If the tendons, joints, and ligaments are inflamed, they are almost frozen in place and cannot function properly.
- Inflammation can mean damage as well, in this most likely needs to be protected as the big toe joint heavily relies upon the weight-bearing joint. So consider discussing with your podiatrist the need for and offloading surgical shoes or boots.
- Once the inflammation is decreased, we need to correct the biomechanical causes to ensure that they can never become overworked and inflamed again!
- The key with an injury or surgery is to keep it protected initially, and when the bone and tendon heels, to get moving before stiffness can set in.
Best Bunion Specific Products:
- There are no perfect bunion treatment products.
- Most people end up disappointed after spending a lot of money on bunion pads, bunion gel pads, expensive bunion correctors, and bunion splints!
- The truth is a bunion is a biomechanical injury. The foot is flattening out, and the ankle is flattening out, causing the pain.
- Having a gel pad on the big toe has very little chance of fixing the deformity, although it can stop the rubbing and relieve a lot of the pain.
- This is why people sometimes wear splints and correctors. It holds the toe straighter so that the tissue and were’s and have left pain.
Big Toe Joint Inflammation Control:
Massage & Ice Products:
- Ice is an excellent option that can be safe for almost everyone.
- There is some debate about whether icing is worth doing, but this can help limit the need for medications and keep your options open for chronic pain.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- The more muscle and ligament tissue there is, the better ice will work there.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- This can work well as a cream or gel option for your big toe joint pain.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- This can be very effective for the bottom of the heel and Achilles tendon sore regions.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This is not to be used directly onto your foot but to help take pressure off the foot’s front.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This is very effective for the arch, the gastrocnemius, calf muscle, and the hamstring and thigh muscles.
- This also works very well for the gluteus muscles if you are having butt cheek or hip pain.
Remove the Big Toe Joint Pressure:
- The key is to prevent future pain and to keep pressure off of the big toe joint.
- This means keeping you active while keeping stress off of your big toe joint. This will prevent future bunions, sesamoiditis, turf toe, and even big toe joint arthritis!
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- The best way to ensure that your big toe joint, hammertoes, and foot and ankle ligaments are not overworked is to support them.
- The best way to support them is to use great orthotics and great shoes.
- Some people may also need to rely on supportive ankle braces and other supportive modalities.
Best Big Toe Joint & Flat Foot Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is no further pressure onto the ball of your foot and the big toe joint region.
- This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, heel spur pain, or Achilles tendonitis.
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for the best pain relief!
- We have found shoes and orthotics to be one of the most effective ways to reduce bunion and hammertoe pain.
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Big Toe Joint & Flat Foot Orthotics:
- These are our recommended orthotics for offloading the big toe joint.
- Custom orthotics can work very well, but they should not be the first line of treatment. Custom orthotics can cost a lot of money, over the counter orthotics can be a great introduction to foot control and prevent pronation.
- There are different types of orthotics for different types of shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic but allow for less correction of your big toe joint and ball of the foot pain.
- A full-length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot, or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
- We recommend doing everything you can to get a good supportive shoe that can fit a full-length orthotic. This will get you the best results for your bunion, hammertoes, and bunionette.
- This is the best way to maximize your orthotics for great results.
Best Full-Length Orthotics:
- These will only work in wider shoes or a good supportive running shoe.
- This will not work in sandals, flats, or most women’s dress shoes.
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
- These are a great choice for dress orthotics.
Best 3/4 Length Orthotics:
- These are great options for women’s dress shoes and thinner shoes.
- These are not the most supportive pair of orthotics.
Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- The goal of getting a great stretch is to improve your ankle flexibility and prevent ball of the foot pain and big toe joint pressure.
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- We personally prefer this method of stretching.
Get A Great Static Stretch:
- These devices are great for stretching while you are resting.
- This will also help take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
- This works great for plantar fasciitis but can also make your ankle more flexible in removing pressure from the ball of your foot!
- It can be used while watching TV or at night time.
Big Toe Joint, Hammer Toe & Bunionette Problems: