Big Toe Pain Treatment in Guelph & Milton

Chiropodist and Foot Specialist Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh, has been assisting patients with big toe pain for over 20 years. When there is no known injury to cause big toe pain, it may result from one of the following conditions. Click on the topic to find out more information:

  1. Bunion
  2. Hallux Limitus and Hallux Rigidus
  3. Sesamoiditis
  4. Turf Toe
  5. Arthritis 
  6. Gout 

You can also skip ahead to see how we treat big toe pain. We do a thorough assessment of your feet to see what might be causing your big toe pain. 

1. Bunion

A common problem involving the big toe is the formation of a large bump called a bunion. Bunions are the most common cause of forefoot deformity, with an estimated prevalence of 23% to 35%.

Bunions cause a shift in the position of the big toe, causing it to drift toward the other toes over time. The usual result of this is a widened forefoot and a red, irritated bump on the side of the big toe joint.

The redness and irritation are typically a direct result of footwear, which puts undue stress on the soft tissues in this area. It also can cause symptoms on the inner edge of the foot, the sole and the small toes. If this sounds like your situation, we have a full page on bunions.

We provide non-surgical care of bunions to eliminate symptoms and halt or decrease the progression of the deformity of the big toe.

We may recommend custom orthotics or orthopaedic shoes to rebalance diagonal directional forces in your foot or use a splint to reshape the joints gently. We may also recommend medication or physical therapies to help decrease pain and inflammation. 

Contact us today to get your foot assessed so we can help you function better. 

Bunion Treatment

2. Hallux Limitus and Hallux Rigidus

Hallux limitus is a condition that limits the joint range of motion at the big toe joint, causing big toe pain.

In order for the feet to efficiently distribute pressure as we walk, a certain degree of flexibility is needed at the big toe joint. When the big toe joint locks up during gait, arthritis can develop in that joint, further limiting the range of motion.

Hallux limitus may result in a bunion or a bump on the top side of the big toe joint. Typically hallux limitus makes it painful to walk with every step, and people often try to “alter their step” to take the pressure off of the big toe joint, but this often results in extra stress, pain and inflammation to other areas of the foot.

When the big toe joint becomes very stiff overall and is significantly limited in motion during walking, this is known as hallux rigidus and is another cause of big toe pain.

After a thorough assessment of your big toe, we might recommend anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy to mobilize functional motion loss of the big toe joint. Custom orthotics may also be recommended to increase the big toe range of motion.

Make an appointment to get your big toe assessed so we can help you function better.

3. Sesamoiditis

The sesamoid bones are two small bones that sit below the big toe joint and are embedded within a tendon. The sesamoid bones can be subject to pain and inflammation from acute or chronic trauma. 

The two major causes of sesamoiditis are chronic overload from long-standing overpronation and a sudden overextension injury during sports activities.

Occasionally significant physical stress can cause fracture of these tiny bones. Sesamoiditis is often linked to activities that involve balancing on toes or jumping, such as ballet, volleyball, or basketball.

Make an appointment to get your sore big toe assessed so we can help you start moving better.

Sesamoiditis Treatment

4. Turf Toe

Turf toe is a common sports-related injury, and like sesamoiditis, is characterized by pain on the bottom of the big toe joint.

The pain stems from a sprain, which is an injury or tear of a ligament. This most commonly happens when the toe joint becomes hyper-extended or bent back with excess force.

Quick movements which change position, such as in soccer or football, are often the culprits.

The name turf toe comes from the link between this injury and sports played on artificial turfs. The conditions of the hard turf, athletic shoes, and stress on the toe from running may all contribute to this injury.

If you are experiencing pain in your big toe and have no existing medical conditions make an appointment to get your big toe assessed so we can help you feel better. In almost all cases, diagnosing and treating an underlying condition or injury in its early stages can reduce your chances of progression to more debilitating long term complications.

5. Arthritis

The most common form of arthritis that affects the big toe joint is osteoarthritis, caused by wear-and-tear. Typical symptoms are joint pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis at the big toe joint may be caused by foot structure problems and functioning, resulting in excess wear-and-tear.

Trauma such as a fracture or dislocation of the big toe can also result in osteoarthritis. Other less common types of arthritis that affect the big toe include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Although there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, there are many ways we can help you ease the pressure on the affected joints and therefore reduce the pain and inconvenience.

We may recommend physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, or custom orthotics to redistribute the pressure as you walk. We can also advise you on the best type of shoes to wear.  

Please make an appointment to get your big toe assessed to find a treatment to help you feel better.

6. Gout

Gout is a metabolic condition associated with excess uric acid in the bloodstream that can affect the big toe joint. When uric acid forms crystals can deposit into joint, such as the big toe joint, and an attack of acute gouty arthritis can occur.

Symptoms of gouty arthritis include a red, hot, and intensely painful joint. It is very sore to walk on and can last hours to days at a time. If gout attacks go untreated and occur repeatedly for a number of years, joint damage may occur.

Medications in combination with a healthy diet can help to control gout. If we assess your toe and suspect this might be the cause, we will refer you to your primary care physician. If you are unsure, please make an appointment for an assessment.

Gout Diagram

Big Toe Pain Treatment

There are several ways we recommend treating big toe pain. Treatment depends on the cause and the severity of the pain.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and discomfort
  • Custom orthotics to control foot function
  • Physiotherapist reocmmended stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy such as laser or ultrasound therapy

We will thoroughly assess your foot and find out what is causing your big toe pain. Contact us today.

Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh, is a Registered Chiropodist and Foot Specialist who has been helping patients for over 20 years.

Chiropodists and Podiatrists are the only regulated health professionals who specialize in treating conditions of the foot. In Ontario, there are 600 Registered Chiropodists and only 60 Podiatrists.

Chiropodists today must complete 7 years of post-secondary education before they get their professional designation. Chiropodists do complete case management of foot problems, including assessment, treatment and ongoing care.

Chiropodist Podiatry Foot Specialist Trina Scarrow Treating Feet

Chiropodist Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh 
*Picture taken before COVID-19, now full safety protocols in place including air filtration systems

Let's Connect

I am an experienced Foot Specialist and Registered Chiropodist with locations in Guelph and Milton.

I provide a full assessment, biomechanical exams, and gait analysis. I will be able to help address your foot discomfort with a variety of techniques including foot care treatment, custom orthotics, orthopaedic shoes, medication, laser, or physical therapy.

I can help get your feet functioning better to help you feel better. Contact me today.