Chronic Conditions 3 MIN READ 316 VIEWS April 30, 2024

Suffering with Toe Pain? Here’s How to Find Relief

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Toe pain has several causes, from injuries to chronic health conditions and joint deformities. Most causes of big toe pain are not serious and can be managed with conservative treatment. However, pain can significantly affect your ability to bear weight through your toes, limiting your ability to stand and walk comfortably.

This blog will discuss common causes of toe pain, how it is diagnosed, treatment options to cure pain in toes when walking, and when to see a healthcare provider for toe pain relief.

Causes of Toe Pain

Different causes of toe pain can produce symptoms like redness, swelling, stiffness, tingling, big toe pain, and limited range of motion. Given below is the list of causes:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout 
  • Turf Toe 
  • Toe fractures 
  • Sesamoiditis 
  • Bunion 
  • Corns, Calluses, and Blisters 
  • Ingrown Toenails 
  • Claw and Hammer Toes 
  • Dactylitis 
  • Peripheral Neuropathy 

Diagnosis for Toe Pain

If you observe the above symptoms, your healthcare provider may diagnose this condition with the following methods: 

  1. Physical examination and inquiry by doctor about symptoms, lifestyle, medications, and recent injuries.
  2. Assess toe flexibility and look for bone spurs and swelling.
  3. Tender areas and skin conditions are checked to confirm the reason for sharp pain in toes. 
  4. X-rays may be needed to assess damage or deformity. 
  5. Further tests like blood tests to measure uric acid levels may be necessary for conditions like gout.
  6. Comprehensive evaluation ensures accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for big toe joint pain.

Treatment and Toe Pain Relief Options

The type of treatment will depend on the cause of the toe pain. Some effective treatment options are listed below:

  1. Pain Reliever: A doctor often recommends a pain reliever, such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for toe pain relief. These medications may also help reduce swelling in the area and help with big toe pain when walking. Less commonly, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
  2. Lifestyle Changes: People may need to treat a bunion by wearing orthopaedic shoes or shoe inserts. Wearing shoes with extra room for the toes is a good option for people with this problem. Other lifestyle changes like eating a proper diet, and physical activity for leg mobility can also help. 
  3. Protective Boot: A doctor may recommend wearing a protective boot while a toe fracture heals. Middle toe pain or pain in any other part of the toe can help in the treatment process. 
  4. Avoid Certain Tasks: If the injury results from a particular activity, it is often necessary to avoid it while the injury heals. This can be a helpful option to treat second toe pain.
  5. Weight Loss: In some cases, reaching a moderate body weight may be important to reduce pressure on the toe.
  6. Physical Therapy: It may help individuals with arthritis to manage this condition.
  7. Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary — for example, to remove a bunion or repair joint damage.

Home Remedies for Toe Pain

Home remedies can often relieve big toe joint pain, or a doctor may recommend supplement therapy. The following remedies can help in toe pain relief:

  • Resting the foot
  • Elevating the foot
  • Icing the foot for 20 minutes every 2–3 hours
  • Using a compression bandage to reduce swelling or big toe pain
  • Wearing comfortable, wide shoes with a soft sole and no heel
  • Placing pads or soft soles inside shoes
  • Gently stretching the foot muscles.

When to Contact a Doctor?

Many sprains and mild toe pain will heal on their own during a period of rest. Contact a doctor for joint symptoms that do not improve after 3 days or if a person has several joint symptoms within a single month.  If you experience pain in toes when walking or the pain is severe, sudden, or unexplained, contact your doctor. 


Movement on your toes, especially your big toe, is crucial for allowing you to walk properly as you go about your daily activities. While many causes of big toe pain can be treated and managed at home, see your healthcare provider if you have been experiencing pain for more than one week. Unaddressed causes of toe pain can significantly impact your ability to walk and maintain your balance. It’s best to treat pain in toes when walking early to prevent complications and reduce the risk of conditions causing permanent damage. 

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