Pain in big toe is a common problem and often people don’t pay sufficient attention to it to warrant visiting a doctor. Most people who get this kind of pain ignore it hoping that it will go away without medical attention. Usually the pain is intermittent and is more of an annoyance, than a symptom of some more serious underlying problem. Five main problems often cause big toe pain and along with the location of the discomfort with a few other symptoms it is possible to narrow down the range of possibilities. Of course for a proper diagnosis you need to visit a doctor and get an idea of what the problem really is, so that it can be treated in time.
Common causes of big toe pain
Two main types of arthritis can affect the big toe and both of them cause big toe pain. In Osteoarthritis the cartilage in the big toe becomes degraded which results in the two bones grinding against each other in the absence of cushioning. This grinding together of bones can cause a lot of pain and can restrict the movement quite a bit. The bones can be moved out of alignment and shift from their natural position. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand is a more serious condition and is an auto immune disorder in which the immune system of the body attacks the tissues of the joints causing inflammation and intense pain.
Earlier gout was considered to be a disease affecting aristocrats and the rich people, but research has proven that this disease can in fact be genetic. The pain of gout can be intense, because in this ailment the uric acid becomes crystallized in the joints, especially in the big toe. This disease is typically accompanied by swelling in the joint of the big toe. This swollen area is hot to the touch and also becomes tender.
Hallux rigidus or rigid toe is a form of osteoarthritis in which pain in big toe is accompanied with stiffness of the joint of the big toe and the joint becomes rigid. Other problems in the feet like fallen arches commonly affect the big toe and cause this problem.
Bunions can be easily diagnosed visually. They always affect the first joint of the big toe. The little toe bunion that occurs correspondingly is called a tailor’s bunion or bunionette. Bunions are essentially bony outgrowths outside the foot and are often accompanied by shifting of the big toe towards the smaller toes. It can make the big toe inflamed and sensitive to touch and pressure. The cause of bunions is considered to be too much pressure on the joints such as wearing shoes with narrow toes and high heels. Bunions also cause pain in big toe and often cannot be treated with topical or oral medicines.
Trauma is one of the most common causes of big toe pain and is easy to diagnose. Whatever be the cause of the pain, it should be diagnosed by a doctor and treated immediately to prevent it from becoming worse.