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Toe Pain: Understanding the Different Kinds and Managing the Symptoms

If you suffer from toe pain, you are not alone. Experts estimate that as much as 29% of people may suffer from a condition that causes pain in the toes.

Toe pain can be mild. But for some people, it can negatively affect their mobility and reduce their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs).

Luckily, a Chiropodist can help. Chiropodists are Ontario's version of a podiatrist, which is a medical professional who diagnoses and treats various types of foot problems.

Are you dealing with big toe pain? You may wonder why. Read this guide to learn about the different types of toe pain, their causes, and how a chiropodist can help.

Types of Toe Pain

There are dozens of types of injuries and disorders that can lead to toe pain. Here are four of the most common causes of toe pain that we treat at Qureshy Foot and Orthotic Clinic in Oshawa, Ontario.

Turf Toe

Turf toe is the colloquial term for metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint sprain. It occurs when someone sprains the joint in the big toe. Most commonly, these sprains happen because of MTP hyperextension during sports.

The name "turf toe" comes from the fact that the condition often happens to football players (who play on turf). Wearing the correct shoes, using athletic tape, and running with good form can help athletes avoid getting turf toe.

There are three levels of turf toe based on severity. Grade 1 turf toe leads to swelling and tenderness, but it generally does not cause pain. However, Grade 2 or 3 turf toe can make it painful to move your big toe.


If you've ever woken up with a painful and swollen toe, you may have gout. Gout is an arthritic condition that manifests via sudden and severe episodes of pain in the joints, most often the MTP joint.

People who suffer from gout report that episodes are more common during the nighttime. Gout pain is most prominent during the first 12 hours of the attack. The affected joint(s) become swollen, inflamed, and may be hot to the touch.

Men are at higher risk for experiencing gout than women. However, post-menopausal women are more likely to experience this condition compared to pre-menopausal women.

Hallux Limitus

Hallux limitus affects the hallux joint, which stretches from your big toe to your foot. The primary symptoms of this condition are inflammation, stiffness, and soreness. Some people also experience severe pain.

It is critical to treat hallux limitus as soon as possible. The condition can advance to hallux rigidus, which can compromise your ability to move around. Treating the condition early prevents this complication.

The most common causes of hallux limitus are toe injury, arthritis, and shoes that are too small or too tight. People with abnormally-shaped feet are also prone to developing this condition.


The sesamoid bones make up the ball of the feet. When the tendons around these bones become inflamed, people develop sesamoiditis. Doctors consider this condition a type of tendonitis, but it can also be a symptom of gout.

Like turf toe, sesamoiditis is common in athletes, especially runners and dancers. Experts typically categorize it as an overuse injury. Movements that put weight or stress on the balls of the feet increase the risk for sesamoiditis.

Symptoms of sesamoiditis include big toe pain, stiffness, and difficulty getting around. Swelling, redness, and even bruising are also symptoms people commonly experience with this condition.

Can a Chiropodist Treat Toe Pain?

Yes, a chiropodist can treat toe pain from the above conditions. After all, chiropodists are virtually the same as podiatrists. But the first lines of defense against big toe pain are at-home treatments, including:

  • Rest

  • Ice therapy

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

A chiropodist can also prescribe custom-made foot orthotics or orthopedic shoes to reduce stress on the big toe. In more severe cases, a patient may require physical therapy or surgical intervention. Here's what you need to know about each.

Custom Orthotics

Orthotics are medical devices specifically for foot pain and disorders. They can make your shoes more comfortable, improve the movement of your feet and toes, and reduce pressure on painful joints and tendons.

The type of orthotics a patient needs depends on their goals. For example, soft orthotic shoes or inserts can help reduce pain for people with arthritis and other conditions. Meanwhile, semirigid orthotics are ideal for athletes.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) is a type of treatment that incorporates stretches and exercises. The goal of PT is to improve the range of mobility and strength and reduce pain.

At Qureshy Foot and Orthotic Clinic, we help our clients customize treatment plans for their unique symptoms. Our chiropodists have the skills to help with pain, stiffness, and more.

Searching for Chiropodists in Oshawa?

Turf toe, gout, hallux limitus, and sesamoiditis are common conditions that cause big toe pain. Luckily, a Chiropodist has the treatments and custom orthotics you need to feel better.

Are you tired of dealing with that pain in your big toe? The Chiropodists at Qureshy Foot and Orthotic Clinic are here to help. Book an appointment online today to get the relief you need to get back on your feet!

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