Why Does My Big Toe Hurt?


Your big toes absorb a large amount of stress and pressure whenever you walk and exercise. When you have pain and stiffness in one or both of them, it can make getting around very difficult. You push off on your big toes and use them to maintain balance. Conditions like bunions and arthritis can contribute to big toe pain and stiffness, so see your foot doctor to help avoid additional complications.

Some of the common causes of big toe pain and stiffness include the following:

  • Foot deformities—People who have poorly-treated arch problems may be more susceptible to developing big toe pain and stiffness. Bunions also cause big toe pain that tends to worsen over time if the bunion isn’t properly treated.

  • Arthritis—Various types of arthritis are often first noticed in the extremities, with the joints of the big toe often being affected. Gout is another arthritic disease that often strikes the big toe.

  • Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe)—Hallux rigidus is a common big toe problem that can be exacerbated by bunions, so see your foot doctor to get the proper care.

Custom orthotics can be used to treat big toe pain and stiffness by redistributing stress and pressure. A variety of physical therapy exercises can also help increase toe flexibility, and ibuprofen or Tylenol can be taken to decrease pain and swelling.

If you are experiencing big toe pain, see your foot doctor for an evaluation. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas) is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.