Big Toe Joint Pain

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your big toe joint, it may be a sign of a more serious issue that needs attention. Big toe joint pain is a common foot problem that affects individuals of all ages. It can result from various causes ranging from injuries to arthritis. 

As a trusted podiatry office, we specialize in diagnosing and treating big toe joint pain to help our patients alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life. We use advanced techniques and technology to provide personalized treatment plans that match each patient’s unique needs. We strive to provide our patients with the highest level of care and support to ensure they receive the best possible outcome.

Do You Have Big Toe Pain?

Do you dread putting on your shoes because of that sharp pain in your big toe? Do not ignore the problem; it could lead to chronic foot pain and even mobility issues in the future. That is why we have put together this comprehensive guide to help you understand the causes and treatments for big toe joint pain. Plus, make sure to check out our big toe pain page for non-joint-related pain causes.

What Could Be Causing the Big Toe Joint Pain?

There are several possible causes of big toe joint pain. Here are some of the most common conditions that may be causing your symptoms:


Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe joint. They are often responsible for big toe pain as they cause a structural problem in the first metatarsophalangeal joint. This leads to the underlying bone, the first metatarsal, changing position and causing a bump on the side of the foot. The big toe eventually moves towards the second toe, exacerbating the problem as the first metatarsal drifts further inwards. With time, bunions become worse and require treatment.


Arthritis is a common cause of big toe pain, specifically osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joint gradually deteriorates, causing bone to rub against bone. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the big toe joint. 

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the joints, causing pain, swelling, and a reduced range of motion.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus is a result of degenerative arthritis, which is known to cause pain and stiffness in the big toe joint. As the cartilage cushioning the joint slowly breaks down, the bones rub against each other resulting in pain, tenderness, and stiffness around the joint. This leads to restricted movement and an eventual inability to bend the toe. Pain and swelling may become more intense with strenuous activities such as walking or running. 


Gout is a type of arthritis that causes uric acid crystals to form in the big toe joint. The big toe is commonly affected by gout, as the crystals tend to accumulate in the joint at the base of the toe. This can lead to sudden and severe pain, as well as redness and swelling in the affected area. 

Hallux Limitus

Hallux Limitus is a condition where the big toe joint becomes restricted in its range of motion. This can lead to pain and stiffness when walking or running, as well as an inability to fully lift the toe off the ground. As far as arthritis is concerned, Hallux Limitus refers to the early stages, while Hallux Rigidus refers to the later, more advanced stages of the condition.


Sesamoiditis is a common cause of big toe pain. The inflammation of the tendons and sesamoid bones in the ball of the foot can lead to sharp pain and discomfort. This condition is often caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the foot, such as running and dancing.

Person with big toe joint pain

Turf Toe

Turf toe is a condition caused by the forceful bending of the big toe joint. The injury, most commonly seen among athletes playing on artificial turf, can lead to pain and stiffness, as well as difficulty walking or running.

While anyone can suffer from turf toe, it is most common among football players. This often occurs when they push off their toes into a sprint or make sudden movements while playing. In most cases, the injury gets better with RICE treatments. However, others are extensive and will need medical intervention.

Contact Us Today for Help with Big Toe Joint Pain

If you are experiencing big toe joint pain and need relief, we are here for you to get you the help and treatment you need. Dr. Peter Harper and Dr. Kristin Harper can help you determine the cause of your big toe joint pain and provide you with effective treatment options. 

Do not let big toe joint pain hold you back – contact Foot & Ankle Experts of Greater Pittsburgh to schedule an appointment today.

Contact Us


336 College Avenue, Suite 106, Beaver,
PA , 15009

Monday: 8am – 12pm

Tuesday: 8am – 4:30pm

Wednesday: 8am – 4:30pm

Thursday: 8am – 4:30pm

Friday: 8am – 12pm

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed