Big Toe Joint, Hammer Toe & Bunionette Problems:
Bunion Big Toe Joint Pain[Causes, Symptoms, Home Treatment & Surgery]
Do you have bunion big toe joint pain? We go over the causes, symptoms and the 100% best home treatment options to get you feeling better FAST!
- The associated photos are pictures of bunions.
- A big toe joint bunion is a prominence of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint.
- A tailor’s bunion is the prominence of the fifth metatarsal phalangeal joint.
- There are multiple stages of bunions ranging from minimal dislocation to severe dislocation to severe dislocation with arthritis.
- It is important to note that the sesamoid bones dislocate from the big toe joint and that the bunion itself is more of a dislocation injury than an arthritic injury.
- Although we frequently see bunions that also have arthritis, and is much more likely.
- We do perform minimally invasive bunion surgery at our clinic to limit the length of recovery time needed.
Please click on the gallery to read the description! Feel free to share pictures.
Causes of Big Toe Joint Pain:
- A bunion is the beginning of the dislocation of the big toe joint.
- The official term is subluxation, this is when the first metatarsal phalangeal joint starts to come out of the joint.
- This usually means the big toe joint is starting to point towards the second toe, this forces the second toe to rise over the big toe if it gets bad enough.
- This can contribute to forming a second toe hammer toe, as well as making the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes spread towards the outside of the foot.
- You can also develop a bunion to your fifth toe, this is called a tailor’s bunion, or a tailor’s bunionette.
- A turf toe injury is the hyperextension of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint, also known as a big toe joint sprain.
- There are many tendons and ligaments and bones on the bottom of your big toe joint.
- If you strain the tendons and ligaments, these can take many weeks or many months to heal.
- If you ever watch professional football, or soccer, this is a very common sports injury when the big toe plants into the ground and all your body weight transfers over.
- There are two bones underneath your big toe joint called your sesamoids bones. These are the tibial sesamoid and the fibular sesamoid.
- If the big toe joint becomes disrupted, such as in a bunion these can become dislocated sesamoids.
- In sports such as basketball where there is a lot of pressure put on the big toe joint, this can lead to inflammation of the sesamoid bones. This is called the sesamoiditis.
- If your sesamoiditis gets really bad, it is also possible to get a broken sesamoid, or sesamoid fracture.
- It can be a good idea to see a podiatrist if you do have a broken or fractured sesamoid bone.
- Arthritis means that the cartilage is missing from your joint, this then prevents normal joint motion. Eventually as the damage keeps getting worse, the bone starts to crack, cause severe pain and eventually develop bone spurs and uneven bone at the site.
- In your big toe joint when you start to lose some motion, this is called hallux limitus. Eventually this starts to lose complete motion and this is now called hallux rigidus. This means that your big toe joint is rigid and unable to move.
- There are four stages to hallux rigidus,progressing from no arthritis to complete fused arthritis.
- Hallux rigidus and big toe joint arthritis essentially mean the same thing.
- This is a very common problem that we see especially in people who are on their feet all day, or have broken their toe in the past.
Flat feet can be caused by many different things, and flat feet result in many different problems.
The more your foot flattens, the more abnormal pressure is put onto your big toe joint. This can lead to abnormal pressure causing a dislocation also known as a bunion, or jamming of the cartilage which can lead to big toe joint arthritis or hallux rigidus.
Flat fee are very complicated topic, as you can have a bunion in a high arched foot as well, but generally it is the act of over pronation that causes your big toe joint to receive pressure and become agitated.
Controlling flat fee with more support has more pros than cons for sure.
What is the bunion?
- The bunion is the physical dislocation of your big toe joint.
- The big toe can cross into the 2nd toe, this can cause a hammer toe to form.
- They will progress and get worse and eventually develop arthritis and become rock hard.
- The bunion is more common in women and more flexible people.
- Whereas men can develop arthritis in their big toe joint called hallux rigidness.
- The good news is both are treated very similarly, and both should feel better with a lot of these techniques.
- If you can push the big toe joint back onto your sesamoids, this means you can reduce and possibly get rid of the bunion without surgery.
- The key is the foot pushing down and flattening on the foot.
- FAULTY Foot Mechanics and foot structure.
- Tight Ankle, hamstring, ankle Flat Foot, Plantar fasciitis and ankle pain.
- Shoes can make it worse, but it is not the cause.
- Big bump on the big toe joint.
- Pain and soreness to the big toe joint.
- Inflammation to the big toe joint.
- Numbness, burning and tingling.
- Eventually numbness.
- Eventually inability to bend the big toe.
- 2nd toe hammer toe.
- Big toe pushes into the 2nd toe.
- See your podiatrist podiatrist!
- Biomechanical evaluation.
- CT scan.
Best Home treatment options:
Get a bunion gel pad:
- Bunion gel pads are great. I give these to almost all my patients who do not want to pursue surgical therapy.
- These prevent the second toe from rubbing up against the big toe, and they prevent your big toe joint bump from her minions the shoe.
- Bunion gel pads work amazing.
- One of the downsides of bunion gel pads? The downsides of bunion gel pads are the fact that they get really sweaty, disgusting and start to smell bad pretty quickly.
- So you probably need a lot of them, and you always have to put them on.
Orthotics for bunion pain:
- Bunions are due to improper biomechanics. We can pretty much guarantee that you will feel better if you get the right orthotic and the right support for your foot. This is proven over and over by science.
- Yes, is it possible to get a bad orthotic? Absolutely, it is possible, people know flexibility can get to Hardeman insert, and people who weigh 400 pounds will not benefit from a pretty flat insert.
- This is where podiatrist can come in handy. But most of the time a good over-the-counter insert will work better than nothing.
A night splint or stretch splint:
- This may or may not be for you, it is best to check with your podiatrist the CFS stretch splint or night splint will even help you. If you have a really tight Achilles tendon than this can be an amazing device.
- Take anti-inflammatory pills:
- Yes ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can help. Do we recommend this? Probably not, because it’s a temporary solution, not a permanent solution.
Pain control devices:
- Things that can help control your pain are soaking your foot in a warm foot bath, ice packs, foot baths with massaging jets, ultrasound, and having your husband or wife massage her feet.
- The massage may help your feet. But it’s going to probably hurt your marriage.
- This is one you hate me for even saying, but losing weight is the single most important thing in preventing a bunion.
- Realistically you know in your mind that hundred pound person is going to have less bunion pain than a 300 pound person. We all already know this is just hard to do.
Good Shoes for Bunions:
- Get yourself a great pair shoes. If you have MS shoe where your bunion is running, essentially all of your pain will go away.
- This can be a very deep topic that we could talk about all day, but the bottom line is, simply get good soft shoe where your bunion is. Make sure it’s wide enough.
- Make sure there’s enough room to put your bunion gel pad, and make sure he has enough room for orthotics.
- Joint Replacement.
- Chevron or distal metatarsal head.
- 1st MTPJ fusion.
- Proximal metatarsal osteotomy.
- Lapidus, lapiplasty or 1st tarsal metatarsal fusion.
The problem is the foot still flattening out!
- How healthy are you?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you have health conditions?
- How young are you?
- How flexible are you?
- How strong are you?
Type of job you work?
Walking boot or walking shoe?
Can You drive?
Home care? Do you live alone or do you need help?
- Dressing and pain medication, it will be sore.
- Feel better but still in dressing.
- Suture removal roughly
- Lighter procedures can return to a good shoe.
Overall Healing Time:
The overall total healing time and recovery time can be summarized as:
At six weeks:
about 50% of the final product.
At 12 weeks or three months:
- About 75% of the final product.
At six months:
- Roughly 90% of the final product.
At one year:
- Roughly 100% of the final product.
Best Bunion Relief Infographic:
Big Toe Joint Injury or Surgery Treatment:
- If you think you might have 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, bio-mechanical 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 are unable to 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 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 very difficult 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 you injured heel will hopefully have a chance to gradually heal!
- Our favorite fracture boots and their supplies:
Offloading and Scooter Treatment:
- If you cannot use your foot, and it further 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 bio-mechanics which led to the problem in the first place.
- If the tendons, joint 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 is a heavily relied upon weight-bearing joint. So consider discussing with your podiatrist the need for and offloading surgical shoe or boot.
- Once the inflammation is decreased, we need to correct the bio-mechanical causes to ensure that they can never become over worked 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.
Big Toe Joint Inflammation Control:
Massage & Ice Products:
- Ice is the an excellent option that can be safe for almost everyone.
- There is some debate whether icing is worth doing, but for chronic pain this can help limit the need for medications and keep your options open.
- 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 bottom of the heel and Achilles tendon sore regions.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This is not to be uses directly onto you foot, but to help take pressure off of the front of the foot.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This is very effective for the arch, the gastrocnemius or calf muscle and for 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 best pain relief!
- We have found shoes and orthotics to be one of the most effective ways to reduce bunion and hammer toe 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 a 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 to 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, hammer toes 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 to remove 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: