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5 Causes of Pain Under The Big Toe

Pain under the big toe can be extremely annoying and such pains take a very long time to resolve. The reason behind it is that individuals vary rarely are able to rest their feet for long periods of time. Except for sleeping, approximately 90% of the day is spent on the feet either at work or at home.

The Big Toe bears the brunt of the entire weight of the body while ambulating. The severity of the pain can be variable ranging from mild to severe in intensity and worsens with more pressure being put on the big toe while ambulating or running.

5 Causes of Pain Under The Big Toe

5 Causes Of Pain Under The Big Toe

There are potentially two main causes for pain under the Big Toe namely sesamoiditis and gout among others mentioned below:

Sesamoiditis: Sesamoids are two small bones which are located immediately underneath the Big Toe. The functions of these bones are to help in balance of an individual while ambulating or weightbearing and it also allows elevation of the rest of the bones of the Big Toe. Since these sesamoids are constantly under pressure due to work overload if an individual is standing or ambulating for prolonged periods of time then they tend to get inflamed.

The inflammation of the sesamoid bones is termed as sesamoiditis and is a major cause of pain under the Big Toe. People most likely to develop sesamoiditis are dancers, runners, and baseball players who put excessive pressure on the Big Toe causing the sesamoids to get inflamed.

Gout: This is a condition that is caused by accumulation of uric acid within the joints. The joint of the Big Toe is the most vulnerable joint which is affected by gout.

A gout attack can bring about severe pain under the Big Toe and also can interfere with the sleep of an individual. The pain is a sharp throbbing pain. An individual who thrives on red meat, drinks excess of alcohol, and is above the age of 45 is vulnerable to gout.

Turf Toe: This is a condition in which the Big Toe gets sprained causing pain under the Big Toe. This is usually seen in athletes who play on artificial turf and their shoes get caught on the artificial grass which causes the Big Toe to bend excessively thus spraining the Big Toe and causing pain under the Big Toe. An individual with a turf toe will experience swelling of the joints of the big toe along with tenderness at the site of the injury. Icing and resting is the best way to treat turf toe injury and getting rid of pain under the Big Toe.

Bunions: This is yet another cause of pain under the Big Toe. Bunions are protrusions which develop at the side of the Big Toe joint. This is mainly caused by shoes which are either too high such as high heels or shoes which put excessive pressure on the Big Toe. The pain caused due to bunions may begin under the Big Toe and radiate down to where the toe joins the foot. The best way to treat bunions is to rest the area and wear comfortable shoes that do not put pressure on the Big Toe Joint along with icing the area. Sometimes, surgical treatment is required to remove the bunions from the foot and resolve Pain under the Big Toe.

Freiberg’s Disease: This is a medical condition in which the tissues of the foot become necrosed causing pain in the foot including under the Big Toe. If an individual with this condition sustains an injury to the toe then he or she will experience severe pain under the Big Toe. The best way to treat the symptoms of Freiberg’s Disease is to reduce the inflammation with steroids and thus resolving the pain under the Big Toe.


  1. Cleveland Clinic: “Sesamoiditis” – https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12101-sesamoiditis
  2. Arthritis Foundation: “Gout” – https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/gout
  3. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: “Turf Toe” – https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/turf-toe
  4. Mayo Clinic: “Bunions” – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bunions/symptoms-causes/syc-20354799

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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