Why Does My Big Toe Hurt and Cause Me Foot Pain?

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Aug 21, 2014 9:30:00 AM

why does my big toe hurt?Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t, but when your big toe hurts, it’s all you can think about. Toe pain and foot pain in general shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you’re feeling it consistently. Ultimately, you’ll want to visit a foot doctor, but before you do there could be a number of reasons why your big toe hurts.

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused by improper trimming of the toenail, either by yourself or a nail technician who gave you a pedicure. Your toenails should be trimmed straight across, not in a curve, otherwise it causes the nail to grow into the nail bed. Not only can this be extremely painful, it can also lead to infection. You can treat your ingrown toenail by soaking it in warm water, treating it with an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to prevent infection, and practicing good foot hygiene.


Since you spend a lot of time on your feet just walking around it’s not uncommon to stub your toe if you’re barefoot or wearing sandals; or start to get a blister on your big toe and feel foot pain due to strenuous walking or shoes that don’t fit correctly. If you’re an avid exerciser or athlete you’re more prone to toe injuries that could be causing your big toe to hurt. If you think your toe may be broken or the pain doesn’t go away in a few days, you should see a foot doctor.

Corns or calluses

Corns and calluses are a thickening of the skin due to excessive pressure being put on the same area. For example, you might have a callus on the outside of your big toe due to weight not being distributed properly when you walk and run. It’s also a way that your toe protects itself from blisters.


A bunion is a bone deformity that creates a bump caused by the enlargement of the joint located at the base and side of the big toe. This causes your toe to move out of place. When the bump experiences friction and pressure from rubbing against footwear it can definitely cause your big toe to hurt. How do you know if you have a bunion? Learn more here.


Your big toe might hurt because you’re experiencing over-pronation when you walk or run. This refers to the way your foot rolls inward toward the ankle. Other foot pain you may be feeling is soreness in your arch or sole of your foot, and even pain in your ankles, hips or knees.


Probably one of the first things you should do is try changing your footwear if your big toe hurts. Shoes with a narrow toe box (like high heels), shoes that don’t offer support (like flip-flops), or shoes that just don’t fit your feet properly could all contribute to your toe and foot pain.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain in your foot or your big toe continues to bother you, contact a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.


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Topics: foot pain