What are the usual causes of big toe pain?

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When it comes to big toe pain, it can make anyone miserable. The first metatarsophalangeal joint is responsible for connecting the big toe to the first metatarsal bone of the forefoot.

Even though the toe joints are small, they are vital for healthy functioning of the foot. Remember that these joints endure significant weight-bearing strain. Once they are impaired, it can make the day a bad one.

Common conditions that cause big toe pain


A bunion is a large-sized bump over the big toe joint that is linked with hallux valgus. Aside from the appearance of the bump, hallux valgus can trigger a shift in the position of the big toe which causes it to drift toward the smaller toes over time.

Big toe pain
Once osteoarthritis affects the big toe joint, it can lead to issues with the foot structure and functioning which results to excess wear-and-tear.

This results to a widened forefoot and an irritated, red bump on the side of the big toe joint. Even though most bunions are triggered by defective foot biomechanics, rheumatoid arthritis can also be a trigger.


Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that affects the big toe joint due to wear-and-tear. The usual symptoms include stiffness or rigidity and joint pain. Once osteoarthritis affects the big toe joint, it can lead to issues with the foot structure and functioning which results to excess wear-and-tear.

Forms of trauma such as a dislocation or fracture of the big toe can lead to the development of osteoarthritis.

Hallux limitus

Hallux limitus is a condition that leads to diminished joint range of motion at the big toe joint. One way in which the feet can effectively distribute the pressure while walking requires a degree of flexibility of the joint.

Once the big toe joint becomes locked during gait, arthritis can develop in the joint thus limiting the range of motion.


This is a metabolic condition that affects the big toe joint. Gout develops once uric acid accumulates in the bloodstream, but this will not always cause any symptoms. Once uric acid forms crystals that deposit into the joints such as the big toe joint, an episode of acute gouty arthritis occurs.

The indications of the condition include a reddened, warm and intensely painful joint. If the attacks are left untreated and occur repeatedly for several years, joint damage can occur.


The sesamoid bones are subjected to inflammation and pain due to acute or chronic trauma. It is important to note that sesamoiditis is often linked to activities that involve balancing on the toes or jumping. In case of fractures on the bone, it can trigger similar symptoms.

Turf toe

Turf toe is a common injury during sports which is characterized by big toe pain usually at the base. The pain might be due to a sprain which is an injury or rip on a ligament. The shoes used, condition of the hard turf being played on and strain on the toe from running can add up to the injury.

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