Six Causes of Big Toe Pain

Six Causes of Big Toe Pain


Also known as hallux valgus, this condition results from the shifting of the bones within the front of the foot. This causes a bump at the base of the big toe that can be painful and progressive over time. Symptoms include redness, inflammation, irritation in shoes, pain with walking, and numbness or tingling. Learn more.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a form of arthritis of the joint at the base of the big toe. It results in stiffness that is often painful during activities such as walking, running, squatting down, or climbing steps. As this condition progresses, bone spurs develop around the joint causing further pain and stiffness. Learn more.

Turf Toe

Turf toe, named for its prevalence among athletes playing on artificial turf, is a sprain of the joint at the base of the big toe. This occurs when the heel is raised, and the big toe is pushed into hyperextension. Based on the severity, it can involve mild pain and swelling to significant pain and torn ligaments. Learn more.

Sesamoid Injury

Two small sesamoid bones are located beneath the big toe joint on the ball of the foot. These sesamoids are subject to breaking (sesamoid fracture) or inflammation of the surrounding tissues (sesamoiditis). Risk factors include a high arched foot, wearing high heels, and repetitive trauma from activities such as running and jumping. Learn more.


A gout attack is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in a joint, most commonly the big toe joint. This leads to significant pain, redness, and swelling of the joint. Gout often affects those with a family history; however, numerous factors, including diet, medications, stress, and other medical conditions, can play a role. Learn more.

Ingrown Toenail

An ingrown toenail results when the borders of the nail grow into the surrounding skin causing pain, redness, and swelling. If left untreated, this irritated skin can become infected and lead to worsening pain, drainage, and a foul odor. Learn more.

If you have questions regarding your big toe pain or are ready to pursue treatment, schedule an appointment with our foot and ankle specialist.