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toe pain

by Dru
(Boise Idaho)

in the middle of my second toe I have had pain for 2-3 weeks. I do not have any swelling or bruising that I can tell. I have not stubbed it or had any injury that I know of. I initially thought I had an ingrown toenail, but did not see anything, and it is not sore around the nail. I do not have callus, corn or hammer toes. I do not have pain at the base of the toe or the ball of the foot. I do have significant flat feet. No I can only wear crocs which have a really wide toe box. I can not wear my tennis shoes. I have been wearing my crocs for at least 2 weeks. and the pain is not getting better--if fact a little worse. It has always hurt if you touched the toe, but I did okay walking around at work until toward the end of the day. Today, it has been hurting all day, without walking and without shoes on. Anti-inflamitories have not changed anything. Do you have any idea what it could be?


Hi Dru,
It sounds like an inflammation of the toe joint, but since it has been going on for a while you may need to have it investigated. I do not know anything about your medical history or age, but the first thing that comes to mind is gout. If no other joints in your body are sore then the next thing I would think of is an osteoarthritic flareup in the joint.
Since the pain does not seem to subsiding in spite of your best efforts, I think a trip to a podiatrist would be indicated.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Warm Sensation In Toes

by Lisa M-V
(Breaux Bridge, Louisiana)

Hi, lately (in about the last few weeks or so) I have been experiencing a warming sensation in my second & third toes of both feet. I was going to describe it as a burning sensation, but it kind of is really warm, but not quite to the point of burning. It doesn't seem to have a noticeable pattern of when it happens or what I am wearing or what I'm doing at the time. It happens maybe once a day or once every other day. There's no pain involved, and no discoloration, just a sudden warm sensation & lasts anywhere from`a few seconds to maybe a minute or two. It does not occur in both feet at the same time & it's pretty much only the second & third toes from the big toe. I do have back & neck problems, as well as a host of other issues like high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, obesity, osteoarthritis, & frequent headaches. I am on a whole host of med's which include pain killers, ant-depressants, blood pressure pills, allergy med's, thyroid & hormone med's, muscle relaxers, & vitamins. I just can't figure it out & my doctor is stumped. Do you guys have any idea what it is, & if so, what can I do about it?
Thanks,
Lisa M-V

Hi Lisa,
Read my section on Morton's neuroma . That would be the most likely source, but because you also have lower back problems you would have to rule out the back as the origin of your burning in your toes.
Why not see a podiatrist to get a proper diagnosis?
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Pain in toe

by Steve Metz
(St. Charles, MO, USA)

I haven't had any prior issues, pain or surgery. Starting a few months back (around June) I started getting a recurring pain in the small toe on my right foot. The pain is very intense and sharp, like being stung by a bee or wasp. It doesn't last very long and occurs sporadically; sometimes daily, sometimes twice or more times a day and sometimes several days apart. It occurs if I'm barefoot, wearing sandals/flip-flops, or sneakers. I have not changed any routines during this time; I run on a treadmill 4 to 5 times a week but have been doing so for some time. Any ideas?

Hi Steve,
If the pain comes and goes and the toe otherwise looks normal my first thought would be a bursitis or even a pinched nerve of one of the smaller nerves that comes into the toes, but of course I am only guessing.
If it bothers you enough have a podiatrist take a look at it.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Toe feels cold/painful

by Marsha
(Pretoria, Gauteng, SA)

The toe next to my big toe feels ice cold sometimes, especially when i drive or wear high heels. I am not even 100% sure whether what I am feeling is cold or pain or even numbness, but it gets really bad when I drive and wear high heels. Then, when I touch the tip of my toe, it is almost like a burning sensation. Does anyone know what causes this and perhaps if this problem has a medical explanation?

Thank you.

Hi Marsha,
When a single toe feels cold, compared to the rest, the first concern should be of a circulatory problem.
I would recommend that you see a vascular specialist to rule out any circulation problems. Do not allow it to get worse.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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3rd and 4th toes are crossing under 2nd toe which just had hammnertoe with pin surgery

by Lois
(Sacramento)

7 weeks ago I had a bunionectomy/hammertoe surgery on 2nd toe and pictures taken before surgery show clearly the third and fourth toes were gravitating toward big toe. After 6 weeks of non weight bearing and extremely painful recovery, dr is suggesting 3rd and 4th toe need surgery too. Why weren't they all four done at once? She said with 3rd and 4th toe I would be able to walk with surgical boot right away, but with pins in each, will i be able to? Seems as though one of these surgeries is major at best and to have to go through it again? A bunion is not involved in 2nd surgery. Disappointed? Indeed I am.

Hi Lois,
I have no idea why you were not offered the third and fourth toe surgery during the first surgery. It would have only created a bit more pain, but at least it would have been over with; now you are faced with additional surgery and recuperation.
Assuming you can now walk on the foot, if you have the additional surgery, even with pins, you should be able to walk afterwards.
Good Luck!
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Pain, tenderness and burning sensation behind my toes.

by Ramona
(Jackson, Ohio USA)

I have a LOT of pain, burning sensation and tenderness where my toes are connected to my feet. It also feels as if there might be a knots there as well. I do have type II diabetes.

Hi Ramona,
The fact that you have diabetes, in my opinion, means that you should be under the regular care of a podiatrist.
If you have not done so already, consult with a podiatrist in your area and he or she should be able to determine the source of your burning.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Morning shots of pain in toes that feel electric

by Laura
(Dallas, TX, USA)

Hello,

Every morning when I awake, I experience shots of pain in my toes, on both feet, in all toes except my big ones. The pain feels almost like electric shocks. It is so painful that I have to walk slowly, not bearing any weight on the toes, and stopping every few inches to hold on to the bed and wiggle them. After a few moments, the pain subsides and everything is back to normal.

Hi Laura,
If it is only occurring upon awakening in the morning my first thought would be of a nerve impingement in the lower back, or possibly a circulatory problem as a more remote possibility.
Marc Mitnick DPM

Soon after I had my baby (5/26/08), I could not wear gym shoes to walk more than half a block, or the same sensation would happen, but so painful that I would have to stop and sit down or limp home slowly, while in extreme pain, to take my shoes off. It was similar to the feeling that you get when your feet “awaken" after having “fallen asleep," except much more painful.

I have since bought Fit-Flops to do my walking in and have not experienced this problem. I have to say, I haven't tried walking in gym shoes in months. However, I do run the treadmill in gym shoes and do not have this problem. Although my toes do often go numb when running, it is not painful.

The only think I can liken the current morning toe pain to is my experience with sciatica while pregnant. It happened twice while pregnant that I had to immediately drop to the floor to lie on my back and wait for the sciatic pain to subside. Then the pain was where the sciatic nerve runs, now it is the same pain but in my toes.

This is probably completely irrelevant, but I thought I’d mention it since it has to do with nerve dysfunction. I had my wisdom teeth taken out three years ago and have not been able to completely feel a portion of my face (lower lip, chin, lower gum) since. The sensation feels like someone has duct-taped that portion of my face – not completely numb, but annoyingly numb. I can feel a light touch, but not a jab of the fingernail. It still feels like a light touch. Also, when I touch one spot, say for instance my lower lip, I feel it in another part of my face, like my chin -just a tickling sensation. The doctor I went to said that it was irreversible nerve damage from a nerve in my mouth being bruised during the surgery, but that the nerve wasn’t severed, otherwise I would feel nothing.

Thanks for any input!

Laura

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second toe pain when i walk and extreme leg pain too

I HAVE PAIN IN MY SECOND TOE WHEN I WALK. MY SECOND TOE IS LONGER THAN MY BIG TOE.

IF I TRY TO WALK ANY DISTANCE DURING THE DAY THEN AT NIGHT WHEN I'M LYING IN BED I GET UNBELIEVABLE ACHING IN MY LEGS. THE PAIN IS MY ENTIRE LEG. I HAVE TO TAKE ADVIL AND A HOT BATH JUST TO GET ANY RELIEF.

I WENT TO SEE IF I NEEDED ORTHODICS AND AFTER TELLING HIM MY SYMPTOMS HE SAID ORTHODICS WOULDN'T HELP ME. MAYBE I HAD A PINCHED NERVE. HE REALLY DIDN'T KNOW.

I'VE READ SOME INFO. ON MORTON'S TOE. I SEEM TO FIT INTO THE SYMPTOMS SHOWN BUT WOULD THIS ALSO LEAD TO MY LEG PAIN?

I WOULD WELCOME ANY THOUGHTS YOU HAVE ON THIS AS IT IS LITERALLY CHANGING THE WAY I LEAD MY LIFE.

REGARDS
SANDRA


Hi Sandra,
Read my section on capsulits as that is the first thought that popped into my mind as I read your question.
I do not know enough about your medical history to offer an opinion as to why your legs hurt so much, but if you are over 50, I would think it would be wise to have your circulation checked or for that matter, if you are in so much pain, see another doctor.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Cellulitis of big toe

by Katie
(Manchester UK)

Hi

I had my big toenail stood on in a nightclub by a lady with a stiletto heel, which damaged the toenail badly, leaving a big white indent in the nail. Within two weeks I had a swollen, red big toe toe the left of the nail (but no lower than the top joint) with a distinct red line across the joint underneath the nail, where the swelling and redness stops.

I have been keeping the foot elevated as much as possible. I am now on my third course of antibiotics (metronidazole, erythromicin and flucloxacillin), and third lot of painkillers, but there is no sign of this clearing up! I am a 26 year old young woman who is otherwise healthy.

Can you give me any advice on what to do next? My doctor has admitted that if this third course of antibiotics doesn't work (I'm halfway through the erythromicin course now), he is running out of options of what to do next!

Please help with the recommended next steps - my toe is fighting these antibiotics for all its worth!

Thanks

Hi Katie,
A mistake many doctors make is to think that antibiotics alone will clear up the infection. Sometimes it does, but more often than not, unless the nail is removed the infection will not clear up. The nail is probably still dug into the skin and creating pain along with not allowing the infection to clear up.
It is important that you have more aggressive treatment, otherwise there is a chance the infection could invade the adjacent bone and this would greatly complicate your problem.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Pain below the second toe

by Dina
(CA)

I just had surgery 8 weeks ago, an excision of a neuroma. The nerve was cut between the second and third toe. I have had the same surgery 7 years ago on my right foot with no problems.
I am now in constant pain below the second toe. I went into the doctor and he thinks it is capsulitis and gave me a very painful cortisone shot. I have had cortisone shots before on my right foot and it was not as painful as this was. I am now freaking out as I had the surgery to correct a problem and am now fearful that I did not have a neuroma but in fact had capsulitis all along and have went through a surgery for nothing. Prior to the surgery my foot would hurt if I walked too much or in certain shoes. Now it hurts constantly. Could the doctor have cased this during the surgery. Not to mention I woke up and yelled out in pain twice while he was doing the procedure.

I dont know what to do now. Should I see another doctor and try and get another cortisone shot?

Any advice or help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

D

Hi Dina,
Capsulitis sometimes is a complication of neuroma surgery because a ligament has to be cut in order to get to the nerve. Also, sometimes capsulitis is mistaken for a neuroma.
Although this is not carved in stone, I think you have capsulitis as a result of the surgery, my argument being that if you had capsulitis initially, it would probably still be hurting as much as it did before, not more.
Of course, I am just guessing because I cannot examine you, but I think a second opinion is very much indicated here because one can assume if the first doctor removed a neuroma that did not exist instead of treating a capsulitis, he or she may, or may not be forthcoming with that information.
Good luck.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Toenail drilling?

I've been doing some research online. I read that it's pretty common to drill holes in the nail of an injured toe, to releave the pressure. But I was wondering how this related to diabetics? What are the risks? I can't seem to find any information about diabetics and this procedure. Is it done on them?

Hi,

If a diabetic's blood sugars are under control and he or she has adequate circulation, there is no reason not to drill a hole in the nail to reduce the pressure. In fact it is far less risky to the patient then totally removing the nail.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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Burning sensation in toes

by Vrinda
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)

I am from Bangalore, INDIA. I am writing this with lot of pain actually, my mom is unwell due to the burning sensation and bad pain in her toes and not able to walk for a long time. We took her for many treatment but doctors could not find what is the problem and she does not have diabetics nor BP...she says that she gets pain in the bottom of the toes and sits suddenly ....Her test report shows everything is normal but i dont understand what has happened to her and why is she suffering like this....

Please help her to walk:-(----

Thanks & Regards,

Vrinda

Hello Vrinda,
Read my section on
Morton's neuroma
and see if that does not sound like the type of problem your mother is having.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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the fourth toe on my husbands foot is red and real swollen its on the left foot and it hurts him when he walks on it

the problem is that it smells really bad like dead animal and its real swollen redish purple looking and its blistered does he need to go see the dr right away?

Hi,
Sounds like it is infected and yes, he must see a doctor immediately.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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toenail

On my left big toe I have a long straight line which runs up and down under my toenail. It appears to be under the toenail of my big toe.

Hi,
You do not mention what the color is of the line, but if it is dark, the nail should be examined to make sure there is not a growth underneath the nail.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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my husband complains the pad just below his toes

by Bonnie Warwick
(Gulf Breeze Fl USA)

He said the pad hurts to walk and gets worse the more he walks. He said it feels like he is walking on balled up sock?

Hi Bonnie,
The balled up sock phenomenon is usually the result of inflammation in the ball of the foot most commonly associated with
Morton's neuroma
but other sources of inflammation will give the same sensation. It may be time for him to see a podiatrist who should be able to give him the source of his problem.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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bone spur on little toe

by jan
(louisiana)

I have developed spurs on my pinkey toes. The Dr. wants to shave them off. Is this the only solution?

Hi Jan,
No that is not your only option. Before consenting to surgery you can try changing the shoes that you wear to avoid pressure on the spurs, if there is a corn on the toe you can have the corn scraped, possibly periodically.
If those things keep you comfortable then you do not need surgery; if they do not work then you might want to consider having surgery.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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severe pain @ base of 2,3,4th toes top & bottom

by Suzi
(Colorado)

Photo of a bad day with RSDS

Photo of a bad day with RSDS

I have RSDS of the right foot from an injury and I am being treated for that since diagnosis in 2004. Having that condition has really made me over use my left foot and the other night I stepped down from a 12" step & pain knocked me to my knees. It is now the 3rd day off my feet because the left foot is very painful on top of the 2-3-4 toe and right under/behind my 2-3-4 toes on the boot is far too painful to walk on. It is swollen, freezing cold and red (the left foot - the foot with RSDS is always freezing, 1 of the symptoms). I cannot put pressure on my left foot now and also have a "zinging" feeling in both of my forefeet. I almost want to say that the RSDS has spread or moved but I don't know if that can happen.
I am away from my Pain Specialist at this time, so have only been icing. Should I try my sister's orthopedic boot? I will probably have a Medtronic Device inserted in minor surgery for the RSDS this year providing I am a good candidate.
Could an insert help keep the pain subdubed?

Thanks Doc

Hi Suzi,
If you re-read what you wrote you will see that it is confusing. First you tell me you have had RSDS of the right foot since 2004 and then in the middle of your paragraph you say the left foot- the foot with RSDS is always freezing.
So I do not know if you aggravated the foot with RSDS or if the other foot now has symptoms of RSDS. In any event, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. As you probably know RSDS is best treated early on, the longer you wait and the worse it gets, the harder it is to improve upon.
I would not just put your foot in your sister's orthopedic boot, because many cases of RSDS do occur after wearing a cast.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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get a sharp pain in my left big toe when I put weight on my foot.

by Dereck Miller
(Fort Washington, Maryland, Prince Georges)

When I stand and put weight on my left foot, I get a sharp pain in the big toe along with my 2 middle toes, the pain is bad enough to almost make me fall down. I have not suffered any kind of injury to my foot and when I am not putting any kind of pressure on my foot, it does not hurt and is not sore. It is not red or show any signs of an injury. It actually feels like the bone is breaking when I stand on it!!

Hi Dereck,
There is always the chance that you suffered a stress fracture of one of the metatarsal bones even though you may not be able to recall any specific instance.
If the pain is a bad as you state, the foot needs to x-rayed and should be examined by a podiatrist.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Foot pain under the pinky toe joint.

by Amanda
(Wilmington, NC)

I have a callus under the joint in my pinky toe. It hurts to walk on it or put pressure on it. It almost feels like there is a small rock or something hard under the skin that presses on the bone when I walk. It has a light greyish blue color where it hurts the most. It almost appears to dip in where the spot is at.

Hi Amanda,
Without actually seeing it, I cannot make a diagnosis, but if the growth hurts and its suspicious in nature, then I would recommend you see a podiatrist in your area to find out exactly what it is growing under you toe.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Thickened Skin on Top of Second Toe

by Roxy
(SA)

I am 28 years old and I have thickened skin on the joint of my second toe. It's the size of a pea. It is not at all painful but is quite dark in colour and does not look very nice. I have been to a podiatrist and she says that she does not know what it is and how to treat it. To me it looks like thickened skin caused by friction. What can I do to get rid of this? I have been told that it is not hard enough to be cut off. Please help, I am not sure what to do now! THANKS FOR A WONDERFUL AND VERY HELPFUL SITE!

Hi Roxy,
Without being able to actually see it I am not quite sure what is going on there. Since it only involves one toe I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it is from shoe friction. If that is the case, if you can avoid wearing shoes that rub on the second toe, the thickened skin should fade over time, but do not be surprised if there is still some remnant of thickening.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Pain in left big toe

I have a pain in my left big toe that hurts when i walk. I wear alot of high heeled shoes when i wear them the pain n worse. Even when wearing no shoes at all my toes still hurts when i walk. I dont have bunions or anything like that. The pain seems to be in my joint leading right up to the very tip of my big toe. It makes me feel sick at times. Please can you advise me.

Hi,
Based on your "story" I would look for a bone spur on the top of the big toe joint, not the side as seen in a bunion. This type of spur will be worse in high heels but can also be painful in when walking barefoot.
You do not mention how long this has been going on, but if it has been over two to three weeks then it may be safe to say it is not going away on its own and may require the services of a podiatrist.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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stabbing pains and swelling 5 months after a minor toe fracture

five months ago i jambed my toe against the corner of a wall and broke it near the end of the toe. i buddy taped for a short period of time. doc said if it was still bothering me after a few weeks to come back in. it quit bothering me, so i didn't go back in.

now 5 months later, i have started getting occasional stabbing pains in my toe and my toe is swollen and it is kind of too wiggly at the end---probably doesn't make sence, but the toe on the other foot is much more firm in the way it moves.

i was on an exercise machine yesterday, the gravitron, where you kneel and use your arms to pull up with. when i got off the machine, my toe was numb, although it didn't last for too long of a time.

would this be from the original injury----i haven't reinjured it, or could i have developed some other problem with my toe. i am on hydrocortisol for adrenal insufficiency and was wondering if this would affect my calcium absorption and the healing of my toe?
thanks
christine

Hi Christine,
The hydrocortisol may be playing a role but the only way you are going to know for sure about your toe is to have it re-examined and x-rayed, otherwise all you are doing is guessing and since I cannot physically examine your toe, all I am doing is guessing as well.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Big blister/ caluses on ball of big toe.

by cohen
(alberta)

this the one that is ripped. The other is just like it but not ripped.

this the one that is ripped. The other is just like it but not ripped.

I have two huge blister or ripped caluses on the bottom of my feet. There both on the ball, right at the base of the big toe. One is ripped the other one is still atached but seems like it will rip if I play any sports. I got them playing indoor soccer. What is the best way to speed the healing process, look after them. I work construction and I can't really afford to take any time of work .
thanks for your help.

Hi,
Generally you do not want to "rip" the blister covering off because that exposes raw skin. If there is fluid in the blister and it hurts then you might want to puncture it with a pin and just drain the liquid out leaving the cap intact.
At that point apply an antiseptic ointment to the area and cover it. The cap will dry out and the raw skin will hardened up without incident.

If you are prone to blister formation while playing sports, try wearing two pair of socks in an effort to reduce friction as it is friction that usually causes the blisters.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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Stabbing toe pain

by Steve
(Fresno)

Marc,

I've written before about the stabbing toe pain in my foot. Big toe and adjacent two. Since the time of the first writing, I've been to a podiatrist who tells me I have two neuromas at the 3rd and 4th toe. He gave cortizone shots on each, separetly on different days and over time, this seemed to stop the pain largely in the index and adjecent toe, but didn't stop the pain in the big toe. Because it wasn't complete, I started physical therapy with sound treatment and that seems to do nothing. I then went to an orthopedist for feet and he said he thought the point of origin was a sphygmoid bone between the ball of my foot. There is a numb pain in this area,

He did not order any conduction tests because the occassion of the severe pain have lessened, although his examination (poking around at the spygmoid) caused a bad flareup that night.

Do you have any further advice?

Thank you so much!

Steve

Hi Steve,
Read my section on sesamoiditis which by the way is more common in that area than a neuroma. Usually an orthotic with proper padding will go a long way to reducing the pain.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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slightly swollen 2nd toe

by sheila
(Norwalk, CT USA)

hurts to bend, hurts to touch and the bone seems to be enlarged on the sides of my toe. was at a wedding last weekend in South Carolina, although I had a lot of fun and danced a bit, I don't recall hitting my toe with anything or jamming it. It has progressively gotten worse since I started feeling the pain on say 11/10 and it's now 11/16.

Sheila

Hi Sheila,
Your should have an x-ray as one of two things immediately come to mind; stress fracture or arthritic flareup. Any pain that continues to worsen requires medical intervention.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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