Big Toe Joint, Hammer Toe & Bunionette Problems:
Dislocated Big Toe & Pinky Toe: [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment]
A dislocated toe can happen to your big toes or smaller toes. The most common are #1) Bunion, #2) Pinky Toe & #2) Hammer Toe formation. FIX IT!
- 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!
- 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 a Dislocated Toe:
- A dislocated toe is almost always due to a significant injury or stress.
- Sports injuries are the most common.
- Motor vehicle accidents are also a very common cause of this happening.
Dislocated Toe Signs & Symptoms:
- Immediate, intense pain.
- Extreme pain when attempting to flex the toe.
- Visible deformity may be present (but is not always).Difficulty walking.
- Swelling, bruising, tenderness or numbness.
- Some people are more prone to dislocations due to lax ligaments or malformed joint sockets.
- Dislocated toes are very painful, and you should seek medical assistance immediately.
- Never attempt to reduce (pop back in) your toe yourself.
- This can also occur in people who have peripheral neuropathy and poor sensation down in their feet.
A Bunion Is a Dislocated Toe:
- Technically a bunion can be a dislocated toe.
- Normally the toe should be pointing forward, but in this case it starts to slowly deform and move from it’s original position.
- If you wait too long the joint can eventually displace and just scar into place.
Hammer Toe Pre-Dislocation Syndrome:
- Predislocation syndrome can occur when your toe starts to dislocate and cross over the 2nd big toe.
- This is a gradual process where a hammertoe forms over your toe.
- The ligament that holds the 2nd toe down is called the plantar plate.
- As time goes on this ligament can simply elongate ad rupture.
- This can eventually developed into what is called crossover toe.
Dislocated Pinky Toe:
- A pinky Can very easily become dislocated.
- A pinky toe or fifth toe dislocation most likely occurs after a traumatic injury.
- This is different than the big toe joint which is most commonly a bunion, and the smaller toes which are usually hammer toes.
Tailor’s bunion (Bunionette):
- A Tailor’s bunion is the formation of the dislocation of this toe joint.
- This can also be thought of as a pinky toe dislocation.
Home Treatment for a Dislocated Toe:
- If you truly did dislocate your toe, the sooner the better to get it put back into place.
- If your toe is dislocated for too long, you can develop nerve or blood vessel injuries. This could include cutting off blood flow to your toe and depriving the skin and muscle of essential oxygen.
- In most cases the toe is not at risk from a neurovascular standpoint, but it can lose it’s elasticity and deform into this position permanently. In that case the toe will stay crooked and deformed for a very long period of time.
- A physician can sometimes numb this toe up and attempt to manually reduce it back into position.
Medical Treatment for a Dislocated Toe:
- Apply the principles of R.I.C.E.(rest, ice, compression, elevation) until medical attention can be sought for your dislocated toe.
- Try to see a doctor within 6 hours to ensure proper healing. The doctor will manipulate the toe back into place, and may buddy-strap the toe (to the one next to it) to ensure that it heals correctly.
- Very frequently a toe can be popped back into place if it has not been a significant period of time yet.
- An X-ray may be taken before treating the dislocation to ensure there are no other complications.
- After the reduction (manipulation to put the joint back in place), a period of care should take place which might include strapping, ice and heat, whirlpool treatments, and strengthening exercises.
Other Causes of Toe Pain:
- Hammer Toes
- Black or Blood under the Toenail
- Broken Toe
- Swollen Toe
- Foot Corn
- Foot Blisters
- Callus Foot Pain
- Predislocation Syndrome
- Crossing Toes
- Foot Arthritis
- Long Second Toe.
Less Common Causes of Toe Pain:
- Morton’s Neuralgia
- Metatarsal stress fracture
- Predislocation Syndrome
- Turf Toe
- Flexor Tendonitis
- Dislocated Toe
For more information on dislocated toes and if you have one, check out this link: Broken Toe Pain
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.
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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: