Pain Under the Big Toe

Foot pain can be tough to resolve because most people are always on their feet. Your big toe, the largest of your foot's digits, sustains much of the pressure you put on your foot when you walk. Pain that is located in, around and under your big toe can be severe and seemingly never-ending. Discuss possible diagnoses with your doctor if your big toe and surrounding area do not feel better with rest.


Inflammation in the ball of your foot and your big toe joint can lead to pain and stiffness. Two inflammatory conditions of this kind are sesamoiditis and gout. Sesamoiditis is the inflammation of the sesamoids, the small, round bones located near your big toe and in the center of your foot. Rest, anti-inflammatory drugs and icing the sole of your foot can relieve the pain.

Gout is actually a form of arthritis and occurs when a concentration of uric acid collects around your joints. It is possible in any area of the body, but is most prevalent in the big toe. Drinking plenty of water to dilute the uric acid is a non-medical form of treatment; oral pain relievers and injectable corticosteroids can also reduce the swelling and help the pain recede.

Turf Toe

Turf toe is the term used to describe a big toe sprain. The condition gets its name from the artificial grass that covers indoor playing fields; your shoe can catch on the grass and cause your big toe to bend upward too much. Symptoms of turf toe include swelling in the joint of your big toe, which causes pain in and under the toe itself. Icing your toe and ball of your foot and splinting your toe with a compression bandage are conventional treatment methods for turf toe. You may require crutches if weight-bearing is painful; otherwise, wearing hard-soled shoes can relieve some of your pain.


A bunion is a protrusion on the side of your foot at the site of your big toe joint. Wearing shoes that put pressure on your big toe joint, including high heels, can contribute to the development of bunions. The pain from a bunion can extend from the toe itself to underneath where the toe joins the foot. Roomy, comfortable shoes, icing the painful area and surgical removal are all treatments for bunions.

Freiberg's Disease

Injuries sustained in the metatarsal bones in the ball of your foot can lead to pain under the big toe caused by Freiberg's disease. People who have this condition suffer from tissue death in the foot, which can create pain, stiffness and swelling of the toe joints. According to Merck Manual, the most common spot affected by Freiberg's disease is the toe right next to your big toe. Reducing the inflammation with steroid injections can help alleviate the pain of this condition.

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