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Toe Pain

There can be several causes of your toe pain and in many cases we see more than one factor leading to the pain. Some of the most common causes of toe pain are:


Planter Plate Tears/ Injury: involves damage (via trauma, from toe deformity or uneven pressure placement) to the strong ligaments protecting the under surface of the toe joints. This ligament is integral in stabilising the toes and when damaged may lead to crossover toes.


Pain is typically felt under the ball of foot and can shoot down to the tips of the toes. Most commonly affected is the 2nd toe.


Immediate diagnosis, immobilisation and treatment is required to reduce symptoms.


Mortons Neuroma: involves a thickening of the tissue around one or more of the nerves which run in between the foot bones towards the toes.


Symptoms typically present as sharp, burning, numbness or tingling sensations in the forefoot, with many commonly reporting a feeling of standing on a stone or that there is a fold in the sock. The pain can radiate towards the lesser toes and is aggravated by shoe wear. 


Diagnoses, changes to footwear and offloading mechanisms can all help with reducing symptoms by decreasing the compression on the nerves.


Synovitis/ Capsulitis: involves a sharp or aching pain once again in the ball of the foot most commonly around the bottom of the 2nd toe. The cause of the pain is from inflammation and degeneration of the ligaments and tissues that keep the joint stable.

Degeneration is typically caused by repetitive activities that place excess strain on the ball of the foot with high-heeled shoes, rheumatoid arthritis, or associated deformities such as bunions, an abnormally high arch or abnormally long second toe being some of the factors contributing to the strain.

Diagnoses, assessment of foot structure and function and changes to load can all assist with pain management.


Corns: Toe pain can be related to something as simple (or not so simple) as a corn. Corns develop from a direct increase of pressure in a particular point on the toe or foot. It can be worsened by joint or bone deformity, pressure from footwear or uneven pressure load when walking.

Diagnoses is generally easily made by a Podiatrist and treatment involves removal as well as implementing strategies to reduce the pressure on the area.


Stress fracture: Involves small microfractures of the bone and is most commonly caused by overuse and a sudden increase in activity. It typically occurs on weightbearing bones of the legs and feet.


Symptoms vary but are described as being worse with activity and are generally relieved by rest. Swelling, tenderness and bruising may all be noted.

Please make an appointment with our podiatrist if you suffer from any of the above conditions.

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