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Ouch - Why Do I Have Toe Pain

Ouch - Why Do I Have Toe Pain

What is My Toe Pain From ?  

Any uncomfortable feeling within the toes may be referred to as toe pain. The toes are very complex structures that are made up of numerous tissues including bones, muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments. When an injury or infection occurs in or around the foot or toe area, the result can be very painful. The pain may be constant or sporadic, and some patients may also experience sensations of tingling or throbbing. It may be a mild annoyance or severe enough to have a negative impact on one's day to day activities. In limited cases, the pain felt in a toe may be a sign of another serious condition altogether. As a result, it is essential to see a doctor for persistent, severe, or unexplained toe pain.

Common Causes of Toe Pain

Toe pain most often occurs as the result of  a physical, accidental injury to the toes or the foot. Injuries may occur in the form of a fracture to the bones or damage to the tendons, muscle, ligaments, or other tissues. Injuries that cause nerve damage can cause pain or numbness in the toes or foot. Age-related conditions such as arthritis are also common.

Underlying Medical Disorders

Less often, toe pain may occur as the result of underlying disorders or infections. It may develop due to athlete's foot, infection of a wound or sore, bone infection, cellulitis, gout or even septic arthritis. Degenerative, inflammatory, and neurological disorders can also cause pain. These problems include bunions, bursitis, hammer toe, gout, Morton's neuroma, nerve compression, peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Poor circulation, ingrown toenails, and peripheral artery disease may also cause toe pain.

Diagnosing Toe Pain

To diagnose the cause of toe pain, doctors typically ask numerous questions that relate to the patient's symptoms. Patients may be asked to describe the pain and its precise location. Doctors will also ask when the pain first started and if the patient is experiencing any other symptoms. In many cases, additional testing is needed to determine the exact source of pain. X-rays are commonly taken when bone problems are the suspected cause of pain. Doctors may also utilize other methods of diagnostic imaging such as MRIs or CT scans. Blood tests may also be taken.

Treatment Options

Toe pain in itself usually is not a serious condition. The underlying conditions, however, can be. When left untreated, they can cause chronic pain, permanent nerve damage, disability, loss of toe, or possibly the spread of infection. Underlying conditions may also worsen with time when they are not treated. Treatment for toe pain varies depending upon the exact cause.

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