The treatments used for big toe pain vary depending on the primary cause for your discomfort. There are several common causes for pain in the big toe and surrounding area, including gout, hallux rigidus, bunions, arthritis, and trauma to the foot or big toe. Most treatments for pain in the big toes will include some kind of pain medication, either over the counter (OTC) or by prescription, as well as surgery in severe cases.
Gout is one cause of big toe pain. This is a condition caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints that often causes redness, swelling, and pain to the toe and surrounding areas of the foot. If symptoms are present and you have not recently injured your foot or participated in any activity that may have caused injury, then gout could be to blame. Treatments for gout-related pain include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs as well as various treatments that may help resolve the causes of gout. These can include eating foods that help combat the build up of uric acid as well as prescription medications.
Big toe pain may also be caused by hallux regidus, a condition characterized by unusual pain and stiffness in the joint of the big toe. Most commonly, this condition coincides with a foot abnormality that results in extra friction or weight being put on the toe. Treatment may include OTC pain medications, prescription drugs, or in severe cases, surgery.
Bunions may also cause big toe pain, as they are often the result of inflammation and swelling of a fluid filled sac at the base of the big toe. Mild to severe swelling may occur in the area and result in frequent pain when walking. OTC pain medications may be helpful in reducing pain, and wearing wider shoes with special supports may be helpful in lessening the swelling. In some severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the bunion.
Trauma to the big toe can also cause mild to severe toe pain, depending on the injury you've acquired. If you believe your toe may be broken or sprained, you should see a doctor right away to have the situation evaluated and to receive the proper treatment. Pain medication will likely be given, and your toe may be splinted or wrapped to help it heal and to relieve some of the discomfort.
If you suffer from arthritis pain in the big toe, you may feel better taking an OTC pain medication as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements to help strengthen your joints. Both methods may provide some relief for mild to moderate arthritis pain. If pain becomes severe or worsens over time, see your doctor about other potential medications and therapies that may be used.
Sometimes applying ice to the toe may help alleviate swelling and pain resulting from one of various conditions. You may also consider wrapping the toe with a bandage to keep it still and prevent further trauma or swelling. If big toe pain persists longer than expected or you do not know the cause of the discomfort, see your doctor immediately to get a proper diagnosis.