Why Does My Big Toe Hurt on the Side

Why Does My Big Toe Hurt on the Side?

The big toe is a crucial part of our foot, helping us maintain balance and providing support while walking or running. So, when it starts to hurt, it can be quite concerning. There are several reasons why your big toe may hurt on the side, ranging from minor issues to more serious conditions. In this article, we will explore the possible causes and provide some interesting facts about this common foot problem.

Fact 1: Bunions
One of the most common causes of big toe pain on the side is a bunion. A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe, causing it to lean inward towards the other toes. This misalignment can lead to pain and discomfort on the side of the big toe.

Fact 2: Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause sudden and severe pain in the joints, including the big toe. It occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint, leading to inflammation and intense pain. The side of the big toe is a common location for gout flare-ups.

Fact 3: Ingrown toenail
An ingrown toenail can also be a source of pain on the side of the big toe. When the edge of the toenail grows into the surrounding skin, it can cause redness, swelling, and tenderness. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected, making the pain even worse.

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Fact 4: Hallux limitus/rigidus
Hallux limitus or rigidus is a condition characterized a limited range of motion in the big toe joint. It can cause pain on the side of the toe, especially during activities that involve bending or pushing off the toe. Over time, the condition may progress to hallux rigidus, where the joint becomes completely stiff.

Fact 5: Sesamoiditis
The sesamoids are small bones located beneath the big toe joint. When these bones become inflamed, a condition called sesamoiditis, it can cause pain on the side of the big toe. Sesamoiditis often occurs due to overuse or repetitive stress on the foot, such as in activities like dancing or running.

Now, let’s address some common questions about big toe pain on the side:

1. What can I do to relieve the pain?
Resting your foot, applying ice, and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate the pain. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

2. When should I see a doctor?
If the pain persists for more than a few days, worsens, or is accompanied other concerning symptoms such as swelling or fever, it’s advisable to seek medical attention.

3. Can tight shoes cause big toe pain?
Yes, wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow can cause pressure on the side of the big toe, leading to pain and discomfort.

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4. Can I prevent big toe pain?
Maintaining good foot hygiene, wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly, and avoiding excessive pressure or trauma to the foot can help prevent big toe pain.

5. Can I exercise with big toe pain?
It depends on the underlying cause and severity of the pain. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional who can guide you on the appropriate exercises or modifications to prevent further injury.

6. Are there any home remedies for relieving big toe pain?
Soaking your foot in warm water with Epsom salts, gently stretching the toes, and using over-the-counter arch supports or toe spacers can provide temporary relief.

7. Can big toe pain be a sign of a more serious condition?
In some cases, yes. Conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis can cause big toe pain. If you have concerns, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

8. How is a bunion treated?
Treatment options for bunions include wearing wider shoes, using bunion pads or splints, applying ice to reduce inflammation, and in severe cases, surgery to realign the toe.

9. How is gout treated?
Gout can be managed with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods high in purines, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking prescribed medications to reduce inflammation.

10. Can I still walk with an ingrown toenail?
Walking may be uncomfortable, but it’s generally possible. However, it’s essential to see a healthcare professional to address the issue and prevent infection.

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11. Are there any exercises that can help with hallux limitus/rigidus?
Specific exercises, such as toe raises, toe curls, and towel scrunches, can help improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the big toe joint. However, it’s best to consult a physical therapist for personalized recommendations.

12. Can sesamoiditis go away on its own?
Mild cases of sesamoiditis may improve with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. However, severe cases may require medical intervention, such as orthotics, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections.

13. Can big toe pain be prevented during sports activities?
Wearing proper footwear, using orthotic inserts for additional support, and gradually increasing activity levels can help prevent big toe pain during sports activities.

14. Can I continue to wear high heels if I have big toe pain?
It’s generally advisable to avoid wearing high heels if you have big toe pain. High heels can exacerbate the pressure on the toes and aggravate existing conditions. Opt for shoes with a lower heel and a wider toe box for better comfort and support.

In conclusion, big toe pain on the side can have various causes, ranging from common issues like bunions and ingrown toenails to more severe conditions like gout or hallux rigidus. It’s important to seek professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to alleviate the pain and prevent further complications.

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