Big Toe Joint, Hammer Toe & Bunionette Problems:
Foot Pain Behind Big Toe [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment]
Foot Pain Behind Big Toe is usually caused by Bunions, Gout, Hallux limitus and rigidus as well as many more. Learn what to do below!
- 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
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!
Why Do I Have Big Toe Joint Pain?
- Pain in your big toe can ruin your day for sure. The big toe joint is actually called the metatarsal phalangeal joint (MTPJ for short).
- This is the joint that connects the big toe to the first metatarsal bone of the forefoot. Even though the joints of the toes are small, they take a lot of weight.
- With running they can take three times the weight of your body. This is much different than the knee or the hip joint which is very big.
- When the big toe joint is hurting you are in for a tough day. Your first metatarsal phalangeal joint takes about 50% of the pressure off the front of your foot running and walking.
- These are the most common problems that could be causing your pain.
- A bunion is basically a dislocation of the first metatarsal phalangeal joint. This is medically known as hallux valgus. This is probably the most common cause of big toe joint pain.
- A bunion is caused by the big toe joint buckling out, it is usually not a bony growth or tumor. Although this can deftly be associated with arthritis that can also cause this. The extra bone growth is usually known as hallux rigidness.
- The problem with a bunion is that your big toe joint which is usually supposed to take off 50% of your foot pressure, no longer does this and puts pressure on different areas of your foot. This essentially leads to a faulty and not properly working foot.
- There are many corrections to bunions, and they do not all have to include surgery.
- This is advanced arthritis of the big toe joint. This is caused by destruction of the cartilage within the big toe joint.
- Osteoarthritis of the big toe joint results from wear and tear or a prior accident or injury. Sometimes there are fancy explanations for this such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, but this is within a less than 5% chance of what is causing your pain.
- The symptoms of big toe joint arthritis include stiffness swelling and and grinding sensation. If you try been the big toe joint with your fingers, it likely doesn’t been very much an upward direction. It only been straight down.
- If this becomes really advanced you will have significant spur formation on top of your big toe joint.
- This is a hyperextension injury of the big toe joint.
- turf toe is basically a sprain of your big toe joint upward direction. It is usually caused wall running and stopping to quickly in your foot flipping over your big toe while it is planted.
- It is very similar to sesamoiditis and your pain is at the bottom of your big toe joint.
- This is most common in sports such as football and soccer.
- Running on hard surfaces and with athletic shoes can contribute to this injury.
- Click on the link above to find out exactly how to take care of this problem.
- Gout is different from the other injuries because it is not a biomechanical injury to your big toe joint. Gout is a metabolic condition that is due to the chemistry within your body.
- People have heard the term gout before a lot, but they don’t really know what it means.
- Gout is usually caused by the buildup of uric acid, this is crystals that form most commonly in your big toe joint. Based on what we see, gout builds up in the big toe joint 90% of the time although it is common in other joints as well. It looks like a white cottage cheese like substance.
- There are two tiny bones underneath your big toe joint. Most people become terrified when they see these on x-rays and think that their broken bones, they are not.
- They are very similar to the patella on your knee, it is a accessory bone that helps your muscles function better.
- These bones are usually injured during a sports such as jumping, ballet and basketball. Lots of up-and-down motion on the front of your foot can you retake these bones.
- Sometimes your system when bones can even be broken.
- If you feel like you sprain your big toe joint, click on the link above to find out exactly what’s going on.
- A Sprain big toe joint is very similar to turf toe.
Other Less Common Causes of Big Toe Joint Pain:
Skin or Toenail Issues of the Big Toe:
- Toenail is detaching.
- Bleeding Big Toenail.
- Ingrown Toenail.
- Ganglion Cyst on the Big Toe
- Bruise Underneath the Big Toenail.
- All other Toenail Disorders.
- Big Toe and Toenail Cancer.
Associated Conditions to foot pain behind the big toe:
- Flat Foot.
- Hammer Toe Deformities.
Causes of Foot Pain Behind Big Toe:
Foot pain behind the big toe depends on an a couple important variables, is the big toe straight or angled toward the second toe?
- Is the pain extreme and hot or gradually onsetting and underneath the base of the big toe.
- If the toe is curved in and the pain is gradual, then you most likely have a bunion.
- As the toe bends in the big toe jams against the foot bones improperly and this leads to a great deal of inflammation and foot jamming.
- If the pain is extreme and onsets one morning without any prior injury, then you most likely have gout.
- If the big toe is straight and you usually spend a good deal of time on your feet, then you most likely have hallux limitus or hallux rigidus. This is the when the big toe jams back against the rest of the foot in a straight fashion and causes osteoarthritis.
- If the pain is at the base of the big toe joint and you spend alot of time on your feet, then you most likely have sesamoiditis. Sesamoiditis usually results in tibial sesamoid pain and can be treated through our treatment guide very precisely.
- There are also a number of generic bumps and sprains that can result in soft tissue problem. Click on the links above to follow through in treating these aches and pain.
Treatment Options for Foot Pain Behind the Big Toe:
- This is usually a final stage treatment option for bunions and hallux rigidus. This usually involves locking up the joint so that it can’t move.
- If you have a big soft lump forming from the big toe.
- If your toe is bending inward, this may be your procedure of choice.
- Big toe joint replacement surgery is not always the best option. While this surgery works great, the complications can be higher.
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: