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There are many reasons why the big toe could hurt. We put a tremendous amount of weight on this part of our foot. It’s a wonder our big toes can hold up to so much pounding.

Some of the most common reasons why the big toe could hurt, outside of fractures, are listed below.

Ingrown Toenail– This condition isn’t always so obvious. A big toenail that grows into the skin can cause the whole toe to hurt. It could be painful with or without shoes on. Usually, pressing on it a certain way will trigger pain. Fortunately, an ingrown nail is typically easy for us to diagnose and treat.

Arthritis– You don’t have to be 80 years old to get arthritis in the big toe. There is an arthritic condition called Hallux Limitus that can occur as young as 35 years of age. Certain activities and shoes trigger the pain. It can be diagnosed with an x-ray and physical exam of the foot. If caught early enough, arthritis of the big toe joint can be treated without surgery.

Sesamioditis– This refers to inflammation of a small bone under the big toe called a sesamoid. We have two of these bones per foot. The pain from this would mostly be under the big toe and is from inflammation around these bones. People who have high arches and are very active are most prone to sesamioditis.

Nerve Pain– There is a nerve on the outside of the big toe where the toe connects to the foot that can get irritated. Sharp or burning pain are most common. It can be caused by certain shoes, an injury, or certain activities. Hikers can get this because of the strain on their feet being on uneven surfaces. Since there are no visible signs of a nerve condition, an exam and X-rays are needed to make an accurate diagnosis.

There are many more conditions that can make the big toe hurt. Any swelling or discoloration of the big toe or any part of the foot should be attended to immediately.

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616 9th Street North
Virginia, MN 55792
- (218) 749-3818


328 W Conan St
Ely, MN 55731
- (218) 365-8793

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