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Our toes are vital with regard to the proper functioning of our range of motion. The toes contain joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and phalanges. Each of these elements is susceptible to injury. Toe pain can lead to a throbbing, piercing or tingling sensation. The sensation is often described as being similar to pins and needles. The pain can be merely irritating, or it can be severely debilitating, depending of course on the severity of the problem.


Some of the symptoms that might occur as a result of toe pain include coldness in the toes, difficulty with movement, burning sensations, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, numbness, skin bumps or discoloration and swelling. In some rare cases toe pain can be an indicator of a more serious illness or problem. Should this be the case, symptoms that might occur in conjunction with toe pain include change in consciousness, breathing difficulties, high fever, red streaks around the affected area, warm or swollen toes, and sores on the feet and toes.


In the majority of cases, toe pain occurs as a consequence of wear and tear on the skin that naturally comes to pass due to the aging process. Amongst the common causes of toe pain are calluses, arthritis and bunions. Infectious diseases, neurological conditions and other problems might also lead to problems with the toe. Sores that do not heal might indicate a problem with peripheral artery disease. This is a life threatening condition.

Some often-seen causes of toe pain are burns, frostbite, dislocation of the toe joint, splinters, and strains or sprains. With regard to infectious diseases, athlete’s foot, cellulitis, osteomyelitis and septic arthritis can all be potential causes of toe pain. Neurological, degenerative and inflammatory problems that can affect the toes include bunions, bursitis, gout, hammer toe, nerve impingement, osteoarthritis, peripheral neuropathy and tendinitis.


There may be some complications that arise as a result of toe pain. These complications will most likely be related to the underlying disease or illness that is causing toe pain - if that is in fact the case. If toe pain is caused by wearing tight shoes or other similar conditions, then the pain should resolve eventually. However, failure to seek treatment can result in progressive damage and other complications such as chronic pain, disability, loss of the toes, permanent nerve damage and the spread of infection. Thus, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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