What Causes Pain in the Big Toe?

frankieleon/CC-BY 2.0

Common causes of pain in the big toe include gout, bunions or ingrown toenails, according to WebMD. Hammer or claw toe, turf toe, sesamoid fractures, corns, and calluses may also cause pain in the big toe.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, according to WebMD. Pain is caused when crystal deposits form in the joints of the toe. A bunion, which is often caused by wearing improperly fitted shoes, is a bony prominence near the big toe. Hammer toes and bunions often occur together. Ingrown toenails not only cause pain, but may also lead to infection. Turf toe is caused by hyperextension of the big toe during athletic activities. The treatment for toe pain varies depending on the cause of the pain, and in some cases, medical care is required.

Additional causes of pain in the big toe include a toe sprain or fracture, a damaged tendon or a stiff big toe, a condition known as hallux rigidus, explains WebMD. Turf toe causes pain at the base of the big toe, and is commonly caused by injury, strains or overuse. Corns and calluses that build up on or near the big toe cause pain when pressure is put on the foot. A sesamoid fracture, which is a small bone break that affects the tendons of the big toe, causes pain.

People may also experience a painful big toe when wearing shoes that are too tight or ill-fitted, according to WebMD. Treatment for conditions that cause pain in the big toe include consulting with a physician when a fracture or break is suspected, resting and elevating the foot, and wearing shoes with pads or stiff-soled bases to relieve pressure. Patients can also take pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat a painful big toe.