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Common causes of Big toe pain.

Your big toe has an important role in many different activities such as balance and walking. It contains two joints.  If you sustain an injury to your big toe, it can make common daily activities very difficult. In this article we discuss potential causes of big toe pain.

Stress fractures are tiny cracks that can occur in the long bone that connects your toe joint to your midfoot.  These normally happen when a small or moderate force is applied to your bone repetitively.  These can occur due to sudden increase in training – such as increasing your running or walking distances or poor footwear. Symptoms include pain that worsens with activity and eases with rest.

Sesamoiditis is a condition that affects the sesamoid bones in the big toe. Sesamoid bones are two pea shaped bones contained within the tendon of the big toe. They act as a pulley to help the muscles of your big toe to transmit force and as a weight bearing surface during activities such as walking. Sesamoiditis usually occurs when the tendons surrounding these bones becomes inflamed and irritated.  Pain is normally focused under the great toe and normally gradually occurs over time.

Turf Toe is another common diagnosis. This involves a sprain of the ligaments and/or tendons of the big toe. It commonly occurs to footballers or sportspeople that play on an artificial grass surfaces like AstroTurf. The mechanism of injury occurs when the tendons/ligaments are hyperextended or strained when the athlete pushes off the ground.

Gout can also be prevalent in big toe. It is a form of arthritis that results in sudden, painful attacks on joints. The joints become very painful, red and inflamed. This occurs because of excess uric acid in the blood and as a result small crystals form around the joints. Gout can occur due to genetics or poor lifestyle choices such as increased alcohol, rich food, the presence of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It is important to see your GP if you think you may be suffering from this as it requires a blood test for accurate diagnosis.

Lastly osteoarthritis can also be a diagnosis of big toe pain. Another name for this is Hallux Rigidus. This occurs when some of the cartilage in the joint becomes thin and doesn’t move as smoothly as it did before. Symptoms of this include pain, swelling and stiffness of the joint.

These are only a handful of common diagnoses of big toe pain, if you feel you would benefit from a professional opinion and some help with returning to full function, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us at 02085427788 or contact your GP.