Swelling in the toes can be very painful and a source of irritation to the patient. Swollen toe or toe swelling can occur due to many reasons. Toe swelling may be mild or severe, accompanied by redness and inflammation. The toes (except big toe) have three bones which are known as the phalanges. Big toe or hallux has only 2 bones or phalanges. These phalanges are joined together with the help of ligaments. Tendons are also present in toes and they attach to the bones to help in movement upon contraction of the muscles in the foot and lower leg.
Causes of a Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling
Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling Caused Due to Traumatic Injuries
- Dropping something heavy on the toe can cause pain and swelling of the toes.
- In most cases, common foot injury like stubbed toe can cause swollen toe or toe swelling.
- Tackle in sports.
- Car accident.
- Fracture of toe can cause immediate swollen toe or toe swelling.
- Bruising of bone or soft tissues.
- Damage to the ligament in conditions like Turf Toe can cause toe swelling.
Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling Caused Due to Overuse Injury
- Inflammation of the tendons present in toe (tendinitis) can cause painful toe and toe swelling.
- Bursitis. This may be caused due to hammertoe. Bursitis can cause pain and swelling of the toe.
Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling Caused Due to Medical Conditions
- Gout, which causes symptoms like redness, warmth, pain and swelling of the toe.
- Arthritic condition can also cause toes to pain and swell.
- Blood clots.
- Allergic reactions to medications, food, or bug bites.
Symptoms of Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling
Swollen toe or toe swelling is often accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Difficulty Walking
- Extremely Painful if the cause of swollen toe is gout or traumatic injury.
- There will often be tenderness around the toe joint.
- There will be some signs of bruise if the cause of swelling of the toe is a traumatic injury or a stubbed toe.
- Difficulty bending the toes.
- Stiffness of the toe joint
Swollen Toe: Causes and Treatment
Treatment for Swollen Toe or Toe Swelling
Treatment for swollen toe is dependent on cause of swelling, as the swelling in the toe is a symptom of some other condition in the toe. If the underlying cause is treated, then the swelling of the toe subsides. Patient should seek consultation with sports injury physician for appropriate diagnosis of the cause and treatment for swollen toe or toe swelling.
If swelling of the toe is caused due to some traumatic injury, then resting the foot, cold therapy application and elevation of foot helps with swelling. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can also be given for pain relief.
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