Outside of the Foot Pain [Lateral Foot Pain]

Pain on Outside of Foot Near Little Toe [Causes & Best Treatment]

The most common cause for pain outside the foot near the little toe is bunion little toe pain, 5th toe pain, and 5th metatarsal pain.

Look:

  • Outside of the foot 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 at all possible.

So, let’s GO!

Little Toe Pain Causes:

These are the top 5 most common pain on the outside of the foot near little toe causes:

sprained pinky toe broken pinky toe

Outside of little toe pain pictures:

Common causes of pain on the side of the foot by little toe include:

  • Corn and callus pain can result in sharp pain in the little toe. This can compress the nerves and cause radiating up the side of the foot and the leg.

 

  • A tailor’s bunion can cause bunion little toe pain.
  • A tailor’s bunion is also known as a bunionette. An aggravated Tailor’s bunion can cause pain in the foot below the little toe and outside the little toe.

 

  • Fourth toe interspace rubbing can cause pain between the little toe and the next toe. It can also cause radiating pain below the little toe.

 

  • Sharp pain in the little toe is usually associated with the sural nerve.
  • The sural nerve runs along the outside of the foot near the little toe, along the outside of the ankle, and up the outside of the leg.
  • Sometimes an irritated little toe can radiate all the way up the ankle.
  • This usually starts from pressure on the outside of the toe against the shoe.
  • Take a look at the pictures in the foot or gallery to look at the sural nerve and see if this is where pressure is developing.

 

 

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Outside of little toe pain symptoms:

Symptoms can vary depending on the cause. We have included the very most specific causes above.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Sharp, shooting tingling pain.
  • Sharp pain in the ball of the foot near the little toe.
  • Pain between the little toe and next toe.
  • Pain on the bottom of the foot near the little toe
  • Numbness, burning, and tingling.
  • Pain that gets worse off standing for a long time.
  • Pain gets worse in tight shoes.
  • Pain that gets worse while standing on hard surfaces.

Pain on the outside of the foot near the little toe causes:

Calluses on the base of the little toe:

  • Calluses on the sub-fifth MTPJ (metatarsal phalangeal joint) are probably the #1 cause of pain on the bottom of the foot near the little toe.
  • Calluses are patches of thickened skin on her toes or in between the toes.
  • This is like having a hard rock in your shoe that never goes away.

Tailors bunion pain

5th Toe Corn Pain:

  • A corn on the fifth toe is probably the most common cause of sharp pain in the little toe.
  • Corns usually are associated with the 5th toe hammertoes and develop on the 5th proximal interphalangeal joint (5th PIPJ).
  • A corn on the 5th PIPJ can also cause sharp pain in the little toe joint or a swollen, painful little toe with no injury.
  • Corns are like more focused and concentrated calluses.
  • These are like pebbles that form a spike through your skin.
  • Click for a guide to painful corn on little toe treatment.
  • This can lead to a painful corn on the side of the little toe 
Corn on the 5th toe heloma durum vs. heloma molle
This is a hard corn on the top of the 5th toe. This can be one of the most common places for a corn to appear.

5th toe bone spur:

  • These are enlargements of bone due to tension or pressure on the foot.
  • A bone spur can be related to a painful callus on the little toe.  It can also be related to pain on the top of the foot near the little toe.
  • Surgery is rarely required. These are usually helped with good shoes.
Hallux Rigidus bone spur to the top of the foot spur
Hallux rigidus can cause bone spur formation on top of the big toe joint and foot.

Tailor’s bunion:

  • A tailors bunion can cause the base of little toe pain. This will usually lead to pain on the side of the foot by the little toe.
  • A tailors bunion (AKA bunionette) can create unwanted callous formation causing even more foot pain on  the ball of the foot under the little toe,
  • In most cases, the Tailor’s bunions start small, and as you age, the bunion gets more inflamed and tender.
  • If the tissue becomes swollen on the side of the joint, this can develop into bursitis.
  • Studies show that tailor’s bunion treatment and surgery can be very effective.
Tailor's bunion pain or bunionette.
Tailor’s bunion pain or bunionette.

5th metatarsal stress fracture:

  • If you cause too much strain to your foot during activities such as running or exercise, it is possible to obtain a fracture to your fifth metatarsal.
  • A 5th metatarsal stress fracture can cause sharp pain in the ball of the foot near the little toe.
  • It can also feel like a gradual increase in pain under the little toe side of the foot.
  • A stress fracture can develop gradually without any specific signs of injury or trauma.
  • It can take a metatarsal stress fracture months to get better, resulting in little swell and side of the foot swelling.
  • As we age, our feet take a lot of wear and tear.

5th metatarsal stress fracture pain along the bottom of the 5th toe

Metatarsalgia:

  • Metatarsalgia means pressure along the bottom of your metatarsals.
  • If the foot is very flat-footed, most of this metatarsalgia pressure can be along the 5th metatarsal.
  • Metatarsalgia can result in the base of little toe pain and metatarsal pain in the little toe. It can also cause pain on the side of the foot by little toe and pain in the ball of the foot behind the little toe.
  • We find the best results with the best shoes for metatarsalgia.
  • Shoes and good orthotics are usually the best way to reduce pain below the little toe.
Metatarsalgia ball of the foot pain
Metatarsalgia or ball of the foot pain is the pain in the front of the foot.
This is most common in people who have very tight hamstrings. Their calf muscles are putting much more pressure on the ball the foot. This can lead to neuroma, metatarsal, or even stress fracture pain.

Osteoarthritis:

  • Doing daily things such as walking can cause arthritis. Arthritis can form in any bone in your body.

Little toe pain in shoes:

  • Little toe pain in shoes can usually result in dress shoes or pointed shoes.
  • A tight shoe and thing sock can lead to little toe swelling and pain.
  • Inflammation of the fifth metatarsal can be excruciating as your feet hold all of your weight as you stand or do most activities.

pain on outside of foot near little toe

5th toe Hammertoe:

  • The hammertoe is when the tendons abnormally pull on the toe.
  • This causes the toe to bend in a fixed position.
  • A 5th toe hammertoe can lead to the little toe being red and painful.
  • This can also be associated with a corn to the top of the 5th proximal interphalangeal joint.
  • This is a symptom of not enough support and your toe getting crushed and bent against the side of your foot over a long period of time.
  • This is a widespread problem to have.
bunionette tailor's bunion 5th toe injury
This is a 5th toe bunionette, or tailor’s bunion can be associated with a 5th toe hammertoe. This can cause pain from rubbing against the side of your shoe!
 

Plantar Plate Tear:

  • A plantar plate injury is rarer in the 5th toe, but it can occur. 
  • It is most common under the 2nd metatarsal phalangeal joint.
  • This can lead to foot pain on the ball of the foot under the little toe.

foot pain on ball of foot under little toe

Broken toe or sprained toe:

  • If your toes turning dark purple or just really bruised: it is possible to have a sprained or broken toe.
  • This can leave the little toe red and painful.
  • It is even more important to get pressure off the fifth toe and protected it.
  • We prefer good supportive shoes, with mesh around where the fifth toe is.
Sprained pinky toe sprained pinkie tie broken pinky toe
This is a sprained 5th toe. If not treated properly, this can lead to post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This 5th toe could very easily be a broken 5th toe as well.

Sprained pinky toe pain:

  • A sprained pinky toe could happen with a twisted 5th toe or injury.
  • This can take many weeks to heal and lead to the outside of little toe pain and pain below the little toe.
  • There are 3 grades to a pinky toe sprain. They can range from pain for a few days to many months.
Sprained little toe or broken little toe
The best way to know whether your 5th toe is broken or sprained is to get an X-ray. Here we can tell there are definitely some bone changes taking place.

Pain on Outside of Foot Near Little Toe Treatment:

  • There are silicone sleeves that can be placed along the outside of your foot to help cushion and prevent less friction.
  • You want to avoid wearing tight shoes around the toes, such as high heels and shoes that have a pointy toe box.
  • It is best to wear shoes that have mesh or a wider toe box. You can ice the affected area for up to ten minutes at a time, and three times a day may help relieve pain.
  • If the pain is persistent, seek out your podiatrist for the best treatment possible as surgery may be needed.
  • In some cases, injections may also be an option for treatment as this can relieve pain and help shrink swelling.

Best Gel Pads:

These are the best gel pads.

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.
Best Tailor’s Bunion(Bunionette) Sock!
Povihome 10 Pack Pinky Toe Separator and Protectors, Triple Gel Toe Separators for Overlapping Toe, Curled Pinky Toes Separate and Protect
Bunionette Corrector Pads - 6-Pack of Small Pinky Toe Tailors Bunion Pain Relief Protectors with Premium Gel Cushions - Best Foot Orthotics and Toe Straightener Sleeve. Unisex
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!
Doctor's Choice Bunion Relief Quarter Sock with Split Toe Separator and Soft Cushioning for Hallux Valgus, (White/Black, Medium) Womens Shoe Size: 6-10
Price:
$9.99
$11.95
$5.99
$29.95
$12.99
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)
Price Range: $12+, Good value. Great reviews at 30+ reviews at 4.4/5
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.
They can be combined with gel pads as well as shoes and the sock. Another great layer of protection.
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).
Not perfect and by themselves may not fix your bunionette(tailor’s bunion) pain. They can break down over time.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best 5th Toe & Tailor’s Bunion Products:
Best Overall Gel Pad For 5th Toe Pain
Povihome 10 Pack Pinky Toe Separator and Protectors, Triple Gel Toe Separators for Overlapping Toe, Curled Pinky Toes Separate and Protect
Price:
$9.99
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.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best 5th Toe & Tailor’s Bunion Products:
Best Low Profile Tailor’s Bunion Gel Pad.
Bunionette Corrector Pads - 6-Pack of Small Pinky Toe Tailors Bunion Pain Relief Protectors with Premium Gel Cushions - Best Foot Orthotics and Toe Straightener Sleeve. Unisex
Price:
$11.95
Overview:
Good Tailor’s Bunion Gel Pad
Pros:
Lower profile, less bulky.
Cons:
Does not help the 3rd or 4th toe from pinching.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
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.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
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).
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best 5th Toe & Tailor’s Bunion Products:
Best Tailor’s Bunion(Bunionette) Sock!
Doctor's Choice Bunion Relief Quarter Sock with Split Toe Separator and Soft Cushioning for Hallux Valgus, (White/Black, Medium) Womens Shoe Size: 6-10
Price:
$12.99
Overview:
Price Range: $12+, Good value. Great reviews at 30+ reviews at 4.4/5
Pros:
They can be combined with gel pads as well as shoes and the sock. Another great layer of protection.
Cons:
Not perfect and by themselves may not fix your bunionette(tailor’s bunion) pain. They can break down over time.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):

Get Great Shoes:

  • Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed outside of your foot
  • This is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or weak ankles.
  • Consider shoes combined with good supportive orthotics for the best pain relief!
  • The following link will show you what our favorites are.

Best Podiatrist Recommended Shoes

The real key to fix outside of the foot pain in order:

1) Most important is a good orthotic for your shoe.

  • Give these 1-2 weeks of effort, and you will really notice the pain relief.
  • This does not instantly fix the pain but prevents future damage.

2) Gel pad to offload the toe.

  • This will give your toes some cushion to keep pressure off the toes.
  • Read below to see the specific gel pads for each specific condition.

3) Ankle brace for the most possible correction.

  • Check the recommended braces below.
  • For ankle pain, this is almost guaranteed to improve your problem.

4) Menthol-based cream for pain relief.

  • Creams and gels like Biofreeze act like ice but save you 20 minutes!
  • Check below for our recommended pain relief options.

Pain Relief:

  • Menthol-based creams have been studied medically, and shoe safety and excellent results.
  • This is not fluff. These are scientifically-backed!
  • Biofreeze is cost-effective and shows great results.
  • This is more for people who have difficulty sleeping or walking due to significant issues.

Best Orthotics:

Best Orthotics for foot pain

Our Recommended Orthotics To Stop Outward Compression:

  • Orthotics are the single most important way to improve your outside of the foot pain, Seriously!
  • Most people don’t think orthotics will fix their foot pain.
  • Besides trauma,  95% of all 5th toe, middle of the foot, and outside of the ankle pain can be improved with orthotics.
  • This is because orthotics help your foot from twisting out and compressing against your shoe when you walk.
  • Please don’t take our word for it. Read the reviews!

Most Important Tips For Orthotics:

  • Make sure you have a roomy enough shoe.
  • I’m warning you right now, don’t try to stuff a full-length orthotic into a tiny tight shoe. It won’t work.
  • If you have tighter or dress shoes: try the dress shoe or 3/4″ orthotics.

Outside of the Foot Pain [Lateral Foot Pain]