The pains that may be felt in our body can reveal different symptoms. Although only a doctor is able to make a real diagnosis, it’s important to know how to recognize certain signs, especially when they concern our feet. Indeed, hidden away in our shoes, they tend to be neglected until the pain becomes unbearable. At a minimum, our feet support the weight of our body all day long, and this pressure is concentrated on our only toes. So what do you do when a pain occurs in your big toe? Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes.


The first thing you want to make sure of when a pain occurs in the toe is to know if it’s the result of an injury. If a shock occurred in the days before the pain, or if a significant exertion was made, this could be the simple cause of the pain that’s often overlooked.


When it comes to overlooked causes, infection is a frequently forgotten one. As hikers know, poorly treated blisters can easily become infected inside a shoe. An infection is generally recognized by a sharp, growing pain and the swelling of the area without an apparent blow or bruise. If in doubt, it’s important to consult a doctor as soon as possible, since only an antibiotic can treat an infection.


Arthritis can affect every joint in the body, whether they’re in the hands, knees, hips, or toes. The cartilage in the bones can break down, causing the friction of the bones during flexion, which occurs with each step. The initial symptoms are generally inflammation, swelling of the area, and pain, especially in wet weather.


Gout is a medical condition. It causes the accumulation of uric acid, which forms crystals that get deposited in the joints, particularly the big toe. This condition can cause intense pain, a sensation of heat, and discomfort when walking.

Hallux valgus

Commonly called a “bunion,” hallux valgus is in fact a protrusion of a portion of the joint at the base of the big toe. This protrusion creates a visible enlargement, which causes a misalignment of the joint. The big toe becomes decentred, pointing outwards, and the base of it may redden and swell, causing pain with each step, especially in closed-toed shoes. Progressive, hallux valgus tends to grow over time, increasing the feeling of discomfort and potentially leading to arthritis.


Overpronation refers to the act of turning your foot inwards while walking. A small, not very alarming defect, it can have more serious consequences in the long term. In effect, the big toe finds itself bending up to 75 degrees to allow you to advance with each step. When the natural movement of the foot is distorted, it can result in pain in the big toe.

If you suffer from pain in your big toe, it’s important to monitor all the associated symptoms: redness, swelling, bleeding, oozing, etc. In case of pain without further aggravation, you can start by relaxing the toe by massaging and stretching it regularly. Following an injury or blow to the toe, you can use ice to reduce swelling and heat to increase circulation.

In other cases, if the pain persists, we recommend consulting a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner a doctor can take a look at your case and make a professional diagnosis, the better your chances will be of avoiding any complications.

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