Causes and remedies of toe pain

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

How uncomfortable pain in the feet can make it difficult to walk or exercise; sometimes, the pain can be very intense even while standing or resting. That is why any solution is always welcome, but sometimes seeking remedies without knowing the reason for the pain can cause the answer to be delayed, making the discomfort last longer.

That is why at FastlyHeal, first, we explain what the pain in the toes is due to, and then we show you the best treatments and remedies that you can use to alleviate it.

What Causes Toe Pain: Causes

The toes contain bone, tendon, vascular, nerve, and skin structures, so, understandably, they can hurt for many different reasons. Here are the most important causes of toe pain:

  • Corns: The footwear’s friction or excessive pressure on the skin often gives rise to thicknesses that can cause pain in the toes.
  • Ingrown toenail: when by improperly cutting the nails, by pulling or improper fitting the footwear, a fragment of the nail is inserted into the skin of the finger, producing a severe inflammation there that can become infected.
  • Use of inappropriate footwear: high-heeled shoes, too tight or too loose, narrow in the anterior area, sports shoes without cushioning, support or adjustment or too worn, can cause the foot to strain, suffer trauma or too much pressure, with which apart from pain, after use, can generate all kinds of injuries if used daily.
  • Overweight: having greater weight than the feet can support leads to overexertion of the joints, tendons, and muscles, which is more likely to hurt the toes and alter the shape of the feet, sometimes severely.
  • Trauma: sprains or fractures can leave the area sore for several days and sometimes even longer until proper treatment or rehabilitation.
  • Turf toe: This is a repeated injury to the joint of the big toe, which bends upward, typically on synthetic turf terrain. It is common among soccer players but also gymnasts and dancers.
  • Intense exercise: long-distance runners or people who do impact sports can suffer from pain, especially if the footwear is not suitable or worn.
  • Infections: it may be that due to friction or after trauma, an simple or superficial lesion becomes infected and generates tremendous pain.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon: it can affect both the hands and the feet, it is because, for different reasons, the body sends less blood to the extremities, with which they become cold and pale-bluish, it usually lasts a few minutes, and when it returns, blood to circulate, pain, tingling, and redness may appear.
  • Hallux rigidus: this is a stiffness of the big toe due to degenerative arthritis. The problem is progressive and may be caused by previous trauma, by the foot’s shape, or by overuse of the joint at the base of the big toe (in the case of workers who squat a lot).
  • Neuroma: inflammation of the tissue of a nerve at the base of the fingers can cause quite a painful swelling, a sensation of having something there, and even tingling. It can be favored by wearing narrow footwear or by deformities in the foot.
  • Gout: Due to high uric acid levels in the blood, urate crystals can accumulate in the joint at the base of the big toe. This results in attacks of pain, a swollen big toe, and heat in that place or other joints.
  • Capsulitis of the second toe: inflammation of the ligaments of the capsule that surrounds the joint of this toe occurs. It manifests with pain, swelling, difficulty wearing shoes, and discomfort when walking barefoot. It can also happen in the third and fourth toes, but it is more common in the second, generally, because there is more significant pressure or alterations in the anatomy of the feet.
  • Bursitis: it is produced by the inflammation of the pads (synovial bags) that surround the joints. It can happen as a complication of other foot deformations.
  • The shape of the feet: pain may appear due to the location of the structures of the feet, which is usually accentuated if you do not use proper footwear or are overweight; in the case of a very high plantar arch, the second toe is longer than the thumb.

Toe deformity

It may be that due to the shape of the foot, the use of inappropriate footwear, being overweight, previous trauma or imbalance, the toes twist and take different unnatural forms:

  • Hammer Toe: The affected toe will bend down at the second joint.
  • Mallet toe: The toe is bent down but at the first joint in the same way.
  • Bunions: due to a deviation of the big toe towards the toe next to it, intense pain and lumps appear at the base of the big toe, which can redden the skin of the place due to rubbing with the shoes.
  • Clawfoot: the joints near the ankle are turned upwards and those farthest downwards, giving that typical appearance to the toes. It can be a congenital deformity or appear after ankle surgeries, arthritis, or diseases of the nerves and brain.

How to Relieve Toe Pain: Medical Treatment

First, a professional should be consulted. Your trusted doctor can help you by diagnosing the cause of the pain, and, in this way, the treatment that points directly to the origin of the problem is usually faster and more effective than that which is done without knowing the cause.

Suppose during that consultation; that the diagnosis has not yet been reached (because more studies are needed or because a specialist needs to assess you). In that case, painkillers may be indicated for a short time: ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), diclofenac; they can be taken as long as they are not there are other medical conditions that prevent it.

  • Ingrown toenails and calluses can be treated directly by podiatrists, who can solve many foot problems quickly and effectively.
  • The infection must be treated with antibiotics, which can suffice as a cream applied to the site, or oral antibiotics if greater severity may be required.
  • In the case of goutchanging habits is critical since it can become a chronic disease, and unwanted complications can appear. In addition, there is colchicine, which is a medication that can expressly relieve this pain but cannot be used forever as it has adverse effects.
  • The alterations in the foot’s shape require regular monitoring by a specialist, use of proper footwear, and strengthening of muscles and tendons through exercise. It is convenient to be barefoot in children, especially when a low or fallen arch is noticeable because contact with the ground will make the area take greater strength, something essential to support the foot.
  • Maybe some deformities are corrected through proper footwear, templates, and supplements. Still, sometimes if the area is very sore and compromises the appropriate functioning of the foot, it may be required one surgery minimal. This is always done by a specialist in traumatology and orthopedics.
  • In the case of a neuromathe activities must be accommodated so that no pain and the nerve are defamed; this process can be helped with local ice, pads, orthopedic support, and medication (analgesics or infiltration with corticosteroids in the place).
  • If the problem is Raynaud’s syndrome, the cause should be looked for first, and then treatment to solve it should be established. It may be noted medication for blood pressure or blood vessels to relax.
  • The trauma always is treated in the first step with rest, ice, and elevation of the affected limb. Placing splints or the solidarity bandage (with the healthy finger next to the beaten one) may be required.

physical therapy

Physical activity directed by physiotherapists can help the evolution of the problem to be adequate since it will not only collaborate to reduce pain but also the patient can obtain tools to avoid future similar issues. Very useful for athletes, injuries due to excessive use or misuse of the joints, rehabilitation of sprains or fractures.

Suitable footwear

Proper footwear is one of the keys to solving and preventing any pain in the foot. Comfortable footwear, with a not too high heel that does not press and that is suitable if you want to do physical activity with it, are some of the keys when choosing them. At the time of purchase, the shoes must fit comfortably, not squeeze or rub; they can also be taken to a shoe store to widen them if necessary.

Control weight

  • It would help if you lost weight. If your weight is exceeded, you can hardly relieve the pain in the toes. You must improve your diet and drink water; they will calm the discomfort, but you will also have more energy, and you can prevent or cure many diseases.
  • Even when your weight is adequate, eating healthy is key to maintaining your health and reducing the possibility of frequently suffering this type of pain.

Home remedies for toe pain relief

There are different measures that you can take to relieve toe pain naturally:

  • Footbath: daily foot bath is a practice that has fallen into disuse, but it is beneficial to preserve the health of the feet and the body since it promotes blood circulation not only in the area submerged in water but the rest of the body. The water should cover up to the calf. It can be done only with cold water for 3 minutes, with cold and hot water (2 minutes in cold water and 2 minutes in hot water, then it is submerged again in cold water and three times). An infusion of fir, larch, or fenugreek can be added since they are anti-inflammatory.
  • Massages: after the footbath, the feet should be heated through massages, wrapping them with wool or walking, thus completing the cycle that activates circulation. This must be done every day and can be done by everyone, as it brings significant benefits.
  • Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris ): in pain caused by nerve problems and rheumatism, you can get massages, frictions, compresses (poultices), and wraps with a decoction of this herb (50 grams in one liter of water). In rheumatism, the applications must be boiling. It can also be drunk as herbal tea, but the preparation must be softer (20 grams of leaves or flowers are used in a liter of water), it can be sweetened with honey, and 2 to 4 cups are drunk daily.
  • St. John’s Wort (Glechoma hederacea): It is beneficial for treating pain caused by gout, not only for its anti-inflammatory properties but because it is excellent for cleaning the body of toxic and harmful accumulations. Fifteen grams are prepared in a liter of water; it can be sweetened with a bit of pure honey (2 to 4 warm cups a day). Externally, friendly cooking of 50 grams of the herb in one liter of water can also be applied.
  • Birch ( Betula alba ): used to improve sore joints and in case of gout. Twenty grams of leaves and buds are prepared in a liter of water (infused), and two cups are drunk per day.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Toe pain: what is it due to and remedies to relieve it, we recommend entering our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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