There are many causes of big toe pain. For instance, two types of arthritis can occur, either osteoarthritis, which is caused by the wearing away of the cartilage that protects joints, or gout, which is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Bunions, which are large bumps on the base of the big toe can also cause pain. Overstress or overuse is also a cause of symptoms.
With so many possible causes of big toe pain, it can be difficult to self-diagnose. As such, if you are experiencing big toe pain that isn’t going away after a day or two of rest, it’s best to see a podiatrist for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Here are some ways you can relieve joint pain at home. If your symptoms do not get better, see a doctor right away.
Quick Relief for Big Toe Pain
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help relieve pain and reduce swelling in the big toe caused by arthritis, bunions, overuse, as well as minor injuries. Advil and Aleve are among the most common over-the-counter NSAIDs. These are, however, used for quick short-term relief and are not designed for long-term use, as they come with side effects.
Ice and heat therapy can also help soothe big toe pain. The cold helps relieve inflammation, while heat helps boost circulation and bring oxygen and nutrients to the joints in the foot. A contrast bath, where you dip your feet in cold water, then in warm water, and then repeat the cycle for five minutes, can help with symptoms, as well.
Toe splints and bunion pads can help with pain from bunions. These are often used to provide a cushion to the big toe, keep it straight and separate it from the other toes, and reduce pain-causing friction.
Stretching the big toe also provides relief. For a toe pull exercise, cross one leg over the other and gently pull the big toe towards you, holding the position for 15 seconds. Repeat this with the other foot, doing it three times per foot.
Long-term Relief for Big Toe Pain
For long-term relief from pain in the big toe, it is best to seek a professional’s help. Most often, you will need to make changes to your lifestyle. For instance, excess weight puts increased pressure on the toes and can worsen existing foot conditions, so weight loss is often recommended.
Switching to footwear that accommodates your unique foot structure and the existing condition is also beneficial in the long run. Supportive shoes with a bigger toe box that allows the foot to roll forward can help ease pressure on the big toe. For greater comfort, podiatrists can create custom-made orthotics that address abnormalities that contribute to big toe pain.
There are advances in treating big toe arthritis available at a podiatrist’s clinic. If symptoms are not alleviated by conservative methods, there are minimally invasive methods that can be used before a podiatrist recommends surgery. Generally, patients who see a podiatrist early have more treatment options available to them, like prescription medication and steroid injections, which provide lasting relief from joint pain in the big toe.
Big Toe Joint Pain Relief in Cincinnati, OH
The podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care are experts at treating joint pain in the big toe. We provide the highest standard of podiatry care in all our 18 locations across Cincinnati. To schedule an appointment, call our clinic nearest to you or use our appointment request form.