How do I Treat Toe Joint Pain?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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To treat toe joint pain properly, you should first find out what condition or injury is causing your discomfort. There are many ailments which could be to blame, the most common being injury and arthritis. Toe joint injuries are most common in those who participate in sports, although injuries can occur in anyone at anytime. A proper diagnosis must be made by a doctor or foot specialist before the correct treatment can be identified. In most cases you will be given medication, bandages or wrappings, or a combination of the two.

An important thing to consider when attempting to treat toe joint pain is to stay off the foot as much as possible, or at least avoid bending the toe. This will allow injuries to heal more effectively and keep arthritis at bay until other therapies can take effect. Serious injuries, such as fractures, will likely be wrapped in a cast or splint to keep the joint from moving any more than necessary. Sprains or bruises on the joint may or may not be wrapped in bandaging.

If pain is severe enough, you may be given a prescription pain medication. Arthritis sufferers often take medication long term to treat toe joint pain and to prevent a flair up of alleviated symptoms. Minor injuries may require no medication, or a milder over the counter version like acetaminophen.


Toe joint pain is usually not serious or life-threatening and can usually be minimized or alleviated entirely by following doctor’s instructions. You should be mindful, though, of some severe complications that may occur. If your pain is the result of an injury, especially one that is accompanied by open wounds or sores, you should be mindful that there is a slight risk of infection. Redness, heat, tenderness, fever, chills, and nausea are all signs of an infection and should be taken seriously. Also look for red streaks near the wound site, as this could signal infection of the blood, or sepsis.

In the event that toe joint pain does not lessen after a week or two of proper treatment, consult your doctor to make sure that healing is taking place. Arthritis and other chronic conditions which cause joint stiffness and pain may not go away entirely with medication, but can be managed. Further methods to treat toe joint pain may be needed if you experience long-term or worsening pain. This may result in a new medication or new dosing requirements for your current prescription.


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Post 3

@ Giraffeears- Turf toe is characterized by ball of the foot pain, swelling, and pain or stiffness when you try to point your toe upwards. If you have been on your feet for a week since, you may want to cough up the money to see a doctor to make sure you do not have a broken bone or severe sprain. In the meantime, you should ice the area, apply a bandage compress, and keep off your foot as much as possible. If your turf toe is bad, you may want to get an air boot so you can walk without bending your toe. At the very least, you should get a stiff pair of shoes with very little flex.

If you leave the turf toe untreated, you can cause Hallux limitus. This is arthritis as a result of turf toe, and can cause a permanent limp. The arthritis will reduce the motion of your foot, causing pain, and changing your natural gait. If you are going to spend money on medical care, feet should be one of your most important areas to spend the money. You rely on your feet more than you realize.

Post 2

@ Cougars- How did you know you had turf toe? I have had swelling and pain in the ball of my foot since I took a cross-country run. I stepped funny on a root, and had to walk the rest of the way off the trail. Now I have burning foot pain in my right foot, and it hasn't gone away. It's been about a week, but I don't have insurance so I am trying to tough it out.

What are the treatments for turf toe? Is it all right that I don't see a doctor, or can it cause permanent damage to my foot?

Post 1

I have had turf toe before and it takes a while to heal. I actually hurt my toe in martial arts, not on the football field where it is most common.

Turf toe is basically a sprain of the ligament that connects the big toe to the metatarsal bone. The ligament is on the bottom of the foot, and the pain is almost like a burning or tearing sensation. If you stay off your feet, and do not bend your toe, it can heal in about a month, but my foot took almost three months to heal. I was also on crutches for about four or five days after the injury.

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