Pain at the Base of the Middle Toes: Home Treatment Guide

The Pain at the Base of the Middle Toes can either be from your big toe, the big toe joint, the lesser toes or the lesser toe joints.

 

Overview: This joint is called your metatarsal phalangeal joint. This can also be related to ball of the foot pain! This is a condition called metatarsalgia.

 

 

What is pain at the base of the middle toes?

  • The pain at the base of the middle toes is generally referred to as your metatarsal phalangeal joints.
  • This is where the large bones of your foot connect to the smaller bones of your toes.
  • Generally, the pain throughout this area is referred to as metatarsalgia.

 

Is it an injury?

  • Most of the time it’s not an injury that happens with one bad step, it is generally a chronic injury or chronic condition caused by placing too much pressure on these joints and not enough on your big toe or your heel. Sometimes pain cost here can radiate throughout the toes or through the nerves up your foot.

 

Anatomy of the base of the middle toes:

  • The middle toes including the second third and fourth toes are called your metatarsal phalangeal joint. The larger bones in your foot are called metatarsals, were as the three bones that make up each toe are called the phalanges.
  • The joint that holds the two bones together is called the plantar plate at the bottom, and capsule surrounding the joint. It is possible to damage all these structures.

 

Symptoms at the base of the middle toes:

 

  • Most commonly you will feel pain at the ball of the foot.
  • The pain will worsen while walking barefoot.
  • Swelling can appear at the base of the toes, especially the second or the third toe which are the longest toes.
  • You can have trouble putting on or wearing shoes that are narrow and the front of your foot.
  • What are the most common causes associated with pain in this area?
  • A bunion that can lead to pressure against the second and the third told including potentially crossover.
  • A second toe that’s longer than the big toe.
  • A tight calf muscle.
  • An unstable arch.
  • Pressure on the front of your foot.

 

Pain at the Base of your 2nd, 3rd and 4th Toes:

 

Pain at the base on the second, third of fourth toes is usually due to a few common causes which I will list from most common:

 

Pain at the Base of the Middle Toes
Pain at the base of the middles toes is usually referred to as ball of the foot pain or metatarsalgia.

A) Pain in the actual toe or toe joint:

 

  • Second toe pain is one of the most common sites of foot pain because anatomically this is the site of the longest and most rigid bone in the forefoot.
  • It is the most common site for ball of the foot pain because as you can see in the X-ray.
  • The 2ndmetatarsal is the longest of the metatarsals and as you lean forward on your forefoot, most of the weight will be absorbed into the second toe joint leading to pain.
  • Thus, the second toe joint is the most likely spot for ball of the foot pain, stress fractures, corns, calluses, pre-dislocation syndrome and crossing toes.

 

B)Pain in the joint originating from the ball of the foot rather than the second toe.

  • If the pain is more at the base of the joint of the toe (where the toe comes out of your foot), then you must consider for the possibility of ball of the problems rather than just toe itself.
  • It is probably difficult to diagnose this by yourself, but try and feet around at the bottom of your foot to see if the pain is coming more from this region rather than the actual toe itself.

 

 

Ball of the Foot Pain Causes:

 

Pain at the Base of your Big Toe:

 

If the pain you are experiencing is at the base of your big toe then you may have the following conditions which I will list from most common to least common:

 

Overview of Big Toe Joint Pain Causes:

 

 

Pain At The Base Of Your 5th Toe:

  • This can be called a tailor’s bunion.

 

Causes of 5th toe pain:

  • The #1 cause of fifth toe pain is your foot compressing in the corner of your shoe.

 

 

Home Treatment Options For All of These:

 

Get A Great Orthotic:

  • The best and most simple thing you can do for these problems is get yourself a good orthotic.
  • This will take pressure off of all these sites.
  • We recommend full length orthotics.

 

Best Medium to Heavy Duty Heel Pain Orthotics:
Best Overall Orthotic For Everything (Medium Thick Fit)
Best Heavy Duty Orthotic (Thickest Fit)
Best SOFTER Choice For Sensitive Feet (Medium Thick Fit)
Powerstep Pinnacle Shoe Insoles
Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic Shoe Insoles
Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles for Men and Women Shoe Inserts - Orthotic Inserts - Flat Feet Foot - Running Athletic Gel Shoe Insoles - Orthotic insoles for Arch Pain High Arch - Boot Insoles
Price:
from $33.77
from $24.99
$19.99
Overview:
These work best in shoes with laces and running shoes. Not good for dress shoes or women's cute shoes.
Biggest and most corrective option. Only use for running shoes or work boots. Not cute shoes.
These are full length inserts, but softer. Great if you can't tolerate the firmer ones. Best for very sore and sensitive feet.
Pros:
Pretty much guaranteed to help you if it fits in your shoes and you give it 2 weeks to get used to. 5,000+ amazon reviews, great track record.
My personal favorite, but not for everyone. Amazing reviews over 3,500. But not for everyone. Only for bigger shoes that can fit them
They are softer and the initial break in time is AMAZING. But longer term benefits are less. >500 Almost 5 star amazon rating.
Cons:
Do not wear these in cute or dress shoes!
Bigger and bulkier than all the other ones. You will be dissappointed if you have a cute women's shoe or dress shoe. This is meant for running shoes and boots.
Great to start with, but don't correct long term as much as the other ones.
Crucial Tips:
Ease in to these, 1-2hrs a day. They are like braces for your teeth, they suck at the beginning! But they will make your feet pain free as 1-2 weeks go by. Don't give up on them after 1 or 2 days. Everyone feels off at the beginning!
This has the most correction, but hardest break in time! IF SENSITIVE, USE A SOFTER PAIR FIRST! But if you get these, you must break them in. Give it 1-2 hours a day, but then you will start to have excellent results. The bad reviews are all people who couldn't fit it into their shoes and gave up too quickly. You have been WARNED!
If you are very sore, TRY THESE FIRST! These are easiest to break in with initially. If you are very sore and rigid, don't use the heavy duty ones to start with.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"These have worked well for my plantar fasciitis. It's not cured, but has helped. I wish they had a higher arch, but they are doing what they are intended to do. Some others have complained about the durability. I've had them for about 5 months, and they are just fine. "
" The Powerstep inserts are definitely the best for me in terms of arch support and comfort, and the Pinnacle Maxx inserts make a MAJOR positive difference in my comfort and ability to get around."
"Plantar Fasciitis pain was getting pretty bad, so I bought these insoles looking for some relief. On Day One, I noticed that it was not as painful to walk as the prior day; still sore but a marked improvement. It's now Day Two and I'm not nearly feeling the pain that I felt before I tried these insoles"
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Medium to Heavy Duty Heel Pain Orthotics:
Best Overall Orthotic For Everything (Medium Thick Fit)
Powerstep Pinnacle Shoe Insoles
Price:
from $33.77
Overview:
These work best in shoes with laces and running shoes. Not good for dress shoes or women's cute shoes.
Pros:
Pretty much guaranteed to help you if it fits in your shoes and you give it 2 weeks to get used to. 5,000+ amazon reviews, great track record.
Cons:
Do not wear these in cute or dress shoes!
Crucial Tips:
Ease in to these, 1-2hrs a day. They are like braces for your teeth, they suck at the beginning! But they will make your feet pain free as 1-2 weeks go by. Don't give up on them after 1 or 2 days. Everyone feels off at the beginning!
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"These have worked well for my plantar fasciitis. It's not cured, but has helped. I wish they had a higher arch, but they are doing what they are intended to do. Some others have complained about the durability. I've had them for about 5 months, and they are just fine. "
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Medium to Heavy Duty Heel Pain Orthotics:
Best Heavy Duty Orthotic (Thickest Fit)
Powerstep Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic Shoe Insoles
Price:
from $24.99
Overview:
Biggest and most corrective option. Only use for running shoes or work boots. Not cute shoes.
Pros:
My personal favorite, but not for everyone. Amazing reviews over 3,500. But not for everyone. Only for bigger shoes that can fit them
Cons:
Bigger and bulkier than all the other ones. You will be dissappointed if you have a cute women's shoe or dress shoe. This is meant for running shoes and boots.
Crucial Tips:
This has the most correction, but hardest break in time! IF SENSITIVE, USE A SOFTER PAIR FIRST! But if you get these, you must break them in. Give it 1-2 hours a day, but then you will start to have excellent results. The bad reviews are all people who couldn't fit it into their shoes and gave up too quickly. You have been WARNED!
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
" The Powerstep inserts are definitely the best for me in terms of arch support and comfort, and the Pinnacle Maxx inserts make a MAJOR positive difference in my comfort and ability to get around."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Medium to Heavy Duty Heel Pain Orthotics:
Best SOFTER Choice For Sensitive Feet (Medium Thick Fit)
Plantar Fasciitis Arch Support Insoles for Men and Women Shoe Inserts - Orthotic Inserts - Flat Feet Foot - Running Athletic Gel Shoe Insoles - Orthotic insoles for Arch Pain High Arch - Boot Insoles
Price:
$19.99
Overview:
These are full length inserts, but softer. Great if you can't tolerate the firmer ones. Best for very sore and sensitive feet.
Pros:
They are softer and the initial break in time is AMAZING. But longer term benefits are less. >500 Almost 5 star amazon rating.
Cons:
Great to start with, but don't correct long term as much as the other ones.
Crucial Tips:
If you are very sore, TRY THESE FIRST! These are easiest to break in with initially. If you are very sore and rigid, don't use the heavy duty ones to start with.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"Plantar Fasciitis pain was getting pretty bad, so I bought these insoles looking for some relief. On Day One, I noticed that it was not as painful to walk as the prior day; still sore but a marked improvement. It's now Day Two and I'm not nearly feeling the pain that I felt before I tried these insoles"
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!

 

Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:

  • These are my favorite dress shoe orthotics.

 

Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
Best Fitting Dress Shoe Orthotic (3/4")
Best Full Length Dress Orthotic.
Powerstep Signature Dress 3/4-Length Insoles - Dress Shoe Insoles for Men and Women
Powerstep Signature Dress Full-Length Insoles for Men and Women
Price:
from $38.97
from $34.99
Overview:
This is my top choice due to best fit. It is a little less supportive than full length, but fit is the key in dress shoes!
Best option if you can fit a full length orthotic. This does give you most control.
Pros:
Excellent overall fit. This will fit in almost every dress shoe. Excellent reviews and reasonable cost overall. Can't go wrong in most cases.
Great color dress option. Not the most corrective, but very color and dress appropriate. Great Reviews. Better correction and relief than the 3/4" length.
Cons:
Less correction than full length and heavy duty orthotics.
These can have a poor fit in in some shoes. If you have tight shoes, DO NOT BUY the full length orthotic! You have been warned.
Crucial Tips:
If you haven't used dress orthotics before, get this one and avoid poor fit. If you wear dress shoes every day with room, the full length might give you more support.
This is will work great in most men's shoes that are not pointy. If you have a rounded toe box, this will probably work well. If a tight shoe go with the 3/4" length.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"Great orthotics. Ease in to shape to your foot just enough, yet comfortable right out of the box. Leather construction makes them breathable. They are good for a wide foot, while not over stretching and ruining one's shoes!"
"I have bought many different OTC orthotics due to plantar fasciitis. These are among the best. I use them exclusively now and they feel good inside both sports and shoes I wear to the office that have removable insoles."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
Best Fitting Dress Shoe Orthotic (3/4")
Powerstep Signature Dress 3/4-Length Insoles - Dress Shoe Insoles for Men and Women
Price:
from $38.97
Overview:
This is my top choice due to best fit. It is a little less supportive than full length, but fit is the key in dress shoes!
Pros:
Excellent overall fit. This will fit in almost every dress shoe. Excellent reviews and reasonable cost overall. Can't go wrong in most cases.
Cons:
Less correction than full length and heavy duty orthotics.
Crucial Tips:
If you haven't used dress orthotics before, get this one and avoid poor fit. If you wear dress shoes every day with room, the full length might give you more support.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"Great orthotics. Ease in to shape to your foot just enough, yet comfortable right out of the box. Leather construction makes them breathable. They are good for a wide foot, while not over stretching and ruining one's shoes!"
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
Best Full Length Dress Orthotic.
Powerstep Signature Dress Full-Length Insoles for Men and Women
Price:
from $34.99
Overview:
Best option if you can fit a full length orthotic. This does give you most control.
Pros:
Great color dress option. Not the most corrective, but very color and dress appropriate. Great Reviews. Better correction and relief than the 3/4" length.
Cons:
These can have a poor fit in in some shoes. If you have tight shoes, DO NOT BUY the full length orthotic! You have been warned.
Crucial Tips:
This is will work great in most men's shoes that are not pointy. If you have a rounded toe box, this will probably work well. If a tight shoe go with the 3/4" length.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"I have bought many different OTC orthotics due to plantar fasciitis. These are among the best. I use them exclusively now and they feel good inside both sports and shoes I wear to the office that have removable insoles."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!

 

 

Best Non-Lace up or Cute Shoe Orthotics:

  • If your shoes are tight like flats or heel shoes, get a pair of these!

 

Best Flat Shoe (Non-Lace Up) Orthotics:
Best Overall 3/4" length option. (Not Heavy Duty, But Fit Focused)
Best Choice For Tight Women's Shoes or High Heels..
Thin Arch Support Shoe Orthotic Inserts for Women and Men by Powerstep, SlimTech 3/4 Length, Original Cushioning Shoe Insoles, Relieves Plantar Facsiitis, All Arch Types, Foot, Heel and Knee Pain
Powerstep SlenderFit Women's Fashion Orthotic High Heel Insole
Price:
from $25.00
from $29.92
Overview:
Great 3/4" choice. These work great in every shoe without laces. Not meant for heavy duty correction.
These are the best fitting for the most narrow shoes. Some but not great correction.
Pros:
Excellent fit, they are reliable with excellent reviews. You are going to be happy with these, just never SUPER happy because they don't correct as much.
They will fit in even the tightest shoes! Guaranteed to make you feel better, but you know what you are getting in a tight shoes. Great reviews and price.
Cons:
They are not super corrective. In some cases its like trying to using a 2 seat car to haul gravel. It looks and feels great but does
At the end of the day high heels and slender orthotics help, but never cure all your pain. Make the best of a painful shoe!
Crucial Tips:
These have a faster break in period than the heavy duty type. If after a few weeks
**WARNING***: If your shoe almost just barely fits onto your foot, this WILL NOT FIT! Be aware, it still needs a small amount of space to fit.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"This orthotic is the best I have tried, the other Powerstep have too high an arch for my feet, and are too thick in one's shoes, this one is just perfect, mild pronation and arch support, they are very comfortable yet do not give way due to their rigid support underneath, I use them in all my shoes as they are 3/4 and I do not have to take the sole from my shoes nor order a size up as I used to."
"These insoles provide as much support as the Powerstep originals. The insoles are comfy and they are long lasting. I've had one pair for a year now and they are just starting to show signs of wear. "
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Flat Shoe (Non-Lace Up) Orthotics:
Best Overall 3/4" length option. (Not Heavy Duty, But Fit Focused)
Thin Arch Support Shoe Orthotic Inserts for Women and Men by Powerstep, SlimTech 3/4 Length, Original Cushioning Shoe Insoles, Relieves Plantar Facsiitis, All Arch Types, Foot, Heel and Knee Pain
Price:
from $25.00
Overview:
Great 3/4" choice. These work great in every shoe without laces. Not meant for heavy duty correction.
Pros:
Excellent fit, they are reliable with excellent reviews. You are going to be happy with these, just never SUPER happy because they don't correct as much.
Cons:
They are not super corrective. In some cases its like trying to using a 2 seat car to haul gravel. It looks and feels great but does
Crucial Tips:
These have a faster break in period than the heavy duty type. If after a few weeks
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"This orthotic is the best I have tried, the other Powerstep have too high an arch for my feet, and are too thick in one's shoes, this one is just perfect, mild pronation and arch support, they are very comfortable yet do not give way due to their rigid support underneath, I use them in all my shoes as they are 3/4 and I do not have to take the sole from my shoes nor order a size up as I used to."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best Flat Shoe (Non-Lace Up) Orthotics:
Best Choice For Tight Women's Shoes or High Heels..
Powerstep SlenderFit Women's Fashion Orthotic High Heel Insole
Price:
from $29.92
Overview:
These are the best fitting for the most narrow shoes. Some but not great correction.
Pros:
They will fit in even the tightest shoes! Guaranteed to make you feel better, but you know what you are getting in a tight shoes. Great reviews and price.
Cons:
At the end of the day high heels and slender orthotics help, but never cure all your pain. Make the best of a painful shoe!
Crucial Tips:
**WARNING***: If your shoe almost just barely fits onto your foot, this WILL NOT FIT! Be aware, it still needs a small amount of space to fit.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"These insoles provide as much support as the Powerstep originals. The insoles are comfy and they are long lasting. I've had one pair for a year now and they are just starting to show signs of wear. "
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!

 

 

For 5th Toe Pain Get Gel Pads:

  • These gel pads will take a ton of pressure off your 5th toe.

 

Best 5th Toe & Tailor's Bunion Products:
Best Overall Gel Pad For 5th Toe Pain
Best Low Profile Tailor's Bunion Gel Pad.
Best Low Profile Option For 4-5th Corn/Interspace Pain.
Best Non-Walking Stretching Option.
Povihome 10 Pack Pinky Toe Separator & Protectors, Triple Gel Toe Separators for Overlapping Toe, Curled Pinky Toes Separate and Protect
Bunionette Corrector Splint - Pack of 2 Small Pinkie Toe Tailors Bunion Pain Relief Pads With Premium Gel Cushions with Toe Separator Premium Foot Orthotics Help and Protective Toe Straightener Sleeve
Natracure Advanced Gel Toe Separator (w/Toe Loop) - Toe Spacer - Small (1104-M CAT 2PK)
YogaToes GEMS: Gel Toe Stretcher & Toe Separator - America's Choice for Fighting Bunions, Hammer Toes, More!
Price:
$8.99
$12.49
$5.99
$29.95
Overview:
Best Overall Gel Pad: For 5th Toe and Tailor's Bunion Pain
Good Tailor's Bunion Gel Pad
Great Option For 4th-5th Toe Webspace Corns.
Great Heavy Duty Toe Separator (Not For Walking)
Pros:
Helps the 3rd, 4th and 5th toes. Heavy duty. Helps the entire area.
Lower profile, less bulky.
Slim and effective option for rubbing between the 4th and 5th toes.
Excellent reviews, great for stretching while resting.
Cons:
These are more bulky. Can take up too much room in very slim shoes. These are not a splint! They are for pain relief.
Does not help the 3rd or 4th toe from pinching.
Zero benefit for tailor's bunions and 5th metatarsal joint pain.
Can't wear these while walking. Won't work if you have osteoarthritis. (If your toes don't bend).
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"These separators help a lot! I can even wear them comfortably with closed shoes. And they're super soft!"
"I found these, liked the reviews so I thought why not... My first 10 steps felt like I had a new body! I feel more aligned than ever and NO, I repeat, NO foot pain!"
"The suction is an absolutely GLOVE-LIKE fit. amazing! i can absolutely feel that it will realign my toe. it lines up perfectly with my 3rd and 4th toes."
"YogaToes. What a great invention. Made in the USA. $30 and foot pain is lessened in ONE WEARING. Not kidding."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best 5th Toe & Tailor's Bunion Products:
Best Overall Gel Pad For 5th Toe Pain
Povihome 10 Pack Pinky Toe Separator & Protectors, Triple Gel Toe Separators for Overlapping Toe, Curled Pinky Toes Separate and Protect
Price:
$8.99
Overview:
Best Overall Gel Pad: For 5th Toe and Tailor's Bunion Pain
Pros:
Helps the 3rd, 4th and 5th toes. Heavy duty. Helps the entire area.
Cons:
These are more bulky. Can take up too much room in very slim shoes. These are not a splint! They are for pain relief.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"These separators help a lot! I can even wear them comfortably with closed shoes. And they're super soft!"
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best 5th Toe & Tailor's Bunion Products:
Best Low Profile Tailor's Bunion Gel Pad.
Bunionette Corrector Splint - Pack of 2 Small Pinkie Toe Tailors Bunion Pain Relief Pads With Premium Gel Cushions with Toe Separator Premium Foot Orthotics Help and Protective Toe Straightener Sleeve
Price:
$12.49
Overview:
Good Tailor's Bunion Gel Pad
Pros:
Lower profile, less bulky.
Cons:
Does not help the 3rd or 4th toe from pinching.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"I found these, liked the reviews so I thought why not... My first 10 steps felt like I had a new body! I feel more aligned than ever and NO, I repeat, NO foot pain!"
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best 5th Toe & Tailor's Bunion Products:
Best Low Profile Option For 4-5th Corn/Interspace Pain.
Natracure Advanced Gel Toe Separator (w/Toe Loop) - Toe Spacer - Small (1104-M CAT 2PK)
Price:
$5.99
Overview:
Great Option For 4th-5th Toe Webspace Corns.
Pros:
Slim and effective option for rubbing between the 4th and 5th toes.
Cons:
Zero benefit for tailor's bunions and 5th metatarsal joint pain.
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"The suction is an absolutely GLOVE-LIKE fit. amazing! i can absolutely feel that it will realign my toe. it lines up perfectly with my 3rd and 4th toes."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!
Best 5th Toe & Tailor's Bunion Products:
Best Non-Walking Stretching Option.
YogaToes GEMS: Gel Toe Stretcher & Toe Separator - America's Choice for Fighting Bunions, Hammer Toes, More!
Price:
$29.95
Overview:
Great Heavy Duty Toe Separator (Not For Walking)
Pros:
Excellent reviews, great for stretching while resting.
Cons:
Can't wear these while walking. Won't work if you have osteoarthritis. (If your toes don't bend).
Amazon Reviewer Comments (Make sure to do your own review research through the link):
"YogaToes. What a great invention. Made in the USA. $30 and foot pain is lessened in ONE WEARING. Not kidding."
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links helps support the site): Thank you!

 

 

 

For more on the Pain at the Base of the Middle Toes:

Hammer Toes