Toe Joint Pain – Common Causes - Rheumatology Consultant London | Rheumatologist London | Dr Stephanie Barrett



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The aches and pains you feel all over your body can be a symptom of your lifestyle or working habits or they can be something more serious. In many cases joint pain is linked to an inflammatory syndrome or disease such as arthritis. Toe joint pain is a particularly common ailment and here we’re looking at common causes of this painful condition.


The most common causes of toe joint pain and usually big toe joint pain is gout. Gout is characterised by sudden and intense pain, inflammation, redness and tenderness in the area around the joint. Gout usually effects the big toe but can affect the whole foot.

Misaligned Bones

Conditions known as mallet toe, claw toe and hammer toe can all cause toe joint pain. They occur when the bones of the toe become misaligned. This can cause severe pain as more pressure is put on the joints and it can affect any of the toes.

Toe Arthritis

Many people living with arthritis will find it causes toe joint pain. The most common place that arthritis effects the foot is at the base of the big toe in the metatarsophalangeal joint. It can occur elsewhere but this is the most common location. Toe arthritis is often linked to gout or due to old foot injuries. It is possible to get both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in the foot and toe and the conditions do differ so you should discuss the pain with your doctor to ensure you get the right treatment.

Other painful symptoms of toe joint pain include bunions or hallux valgus which often develop. Over time the big toe does shift position and this can form a lump as the top of the toe pushes outwards and the bottom pushes in. Bunions can be caused by ill-fitting shoes but they can also be as a result of conditions such as toe arthritis.

If you have toe joint pain it is essential you see your doctor ASAP and get referred to the right specialist if necessary.