What Causes Toe Pain?
Any number of things can result in painful toes, whether the toe condition is related to improperly fitted shoes, occupati onal hazard, injury, or disease. As people grow older it becomes even more important to have healthy toes. They assist with balance, which can
be crucial to avoiding painful falls and losing mobility later in life.
Common conditions affecting the bones, joints, and connective tissues of the toes include:
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenail
- Claw toe
- Hallux rigidus stiff big toe
- Morton’s neuroma
- Inflamed toe joint (synovitis) from rheumatoid arthritis
Bunions May Distort Toe Joints
One of the toe conditions discussed with orthopedic specialists may be bunions, a painful bony growth that develops on the big toe joint (also referred to as hallux valgus). Over time the bunions create pressure on the big toe, pushing it toward the other toes and warping the bone structure along the inside of the foot.
Wearing tight narrow shoes makes women especially susceptible to toe pain from bunions. Bunions can cause callouses, corns, stiff big toe, bursitis, hammertoe, metatarsalgia, chronic toe pain, and arthritis. A bunion known as a bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, also can appear on the outside of the foot near the little toe with similar symptoms.
Other deformities occurring along with toe pain corns and callouses. These pads of thick, hard skin form as toe bones constan tly rub against the inside of shoes. As the skin thickens, tissues and nerves underneath become irritated, even forming open sores or infections.
Irritation of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe can be painful, as well as deforming to the bone structure of the toes. Pressure and inflammation over time causes the MTP joint to develop bone spurs, stiffness, cartilage damage, swelling and arthritis symptoms. This toe condition is known as stiff big toe or hallux rigidus.
Hammertoe and Claw Toe Create Deformity
When feet are forced into ill-fitting shoes for years, toes have no alternative but to bend painfully. Eventually the toe muscles stiffen into unhealthy positions, even when not inside shoes. Claw toe is similar in appearance, but may be the result of nerve damage rather than pressure on the bones and muscles. The extreme bend on claw toes means the toes may curl up under the foot and develop painful corns.
Additional toe conditions can be caused by injury or accident such as turf toes or broken toes. In contrast, Morton’s neuroma starts with benign tumors growing on the surface of a nerve in the foot. This neurological toe disease may not feature a visible lump, but could cause burning pain in the ball of the foot and numbness in the toes. Morton’s neuroma are much more likely to develop in women and the tumors usually appear between the third and fourth toes after some form of tissue irritation, trauma , or pressure.
Ortho Doctors Keep Toe Bones Healthy
Caring for toe health may seem insignificant to some, but orthopedic foot and ankle specialists understand the essential role played by the toes in our daily lives. Toe pain can negatively affect your health, literally throwing things off balance.
Call 855-41-ORTHO for an appointment with an orthopedic doctor today. Rest assured that the orthopedic surgeons at Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital – Arlington are trained to understand all the muscles, bones and joints of the human body. The toe pain team has a mission to keep your feet, ankles, and toes working perfectly in tandem every day.