The pain in the big toe joint, like any other pain, can be very frustrating. It can occur due to a number of reasons, with different kind of pain, from sharp and culminating to dull and aching, and the treatment is different, depending on the particular cause.
Causes of pain in the big toe joint
One of the common causes of pain in the big toe joint is injury or trauma. It often happens during sport activities, like football, soccer, basketball and similar. The pain can be temporary and mild, or prolonged and severe, in which case it is necessary to see a doctor to check for possible fractures.
Several medical conditions are known for causing this particular type of pain. Hallux rigidus, also known as the arthritis of big toe, usually affects the larger joint at the base of the toe, which connects the toe bone to the foot bone. The pain is experienced when moving the toe, while walking or even standing, and it radiates from the joint all over the foot. It is usually observed in elderly.
Aside from arthritis, bunions are another major cause of pain in the big toe. A bunion is a protrusion of the bone at the side of the big toe. It deforms the foot and causes pain. The big toe becomes inclined at an abnormal angle, which leads to inflammation and the formation of a bump, swelling and redness around the toe.
Relief for big toe joint pain
There are several treatment and relief options for the big toe joint pain. One of them is application of cold, in form of ice packs or cold compresses. The ice reduces the inflammation and the pain as well.
Another option is heat therapy. Soaking the affected foot in some moderately hot water or applying heat pads usually brings significant relief.
The pain can be efficiently managed using analgesics or pain killers. The ones that should be used belong to the group of anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs, such as ibuprofen. In case those analgesics do not help with the pain, injections of corticosteroids can be administered.
It is very important to wear proper footwear. Tight or ill-fitting shoes increase the pressure to the toe and squeeze it, which aggravates the problem and increases the pain. The shoes should be comfortable, supporting and wide enough at the tip so the toes can be wiggled without obstacles.
In severe cases of bunions and hallux rigidus, surgery may be an option. In bunion surgery, the protruding bone is re-aligned or removed.