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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

Swollen Big Toes, Possibly Cellulitis.

by Kayla

Both of my big toes are swollen, red and extremely sensitive to touch. When I move them, I get an intense, sharp pain. They also hurt when just staying in place. They have been this way, but it has gotten very intense over the past few days. It was just the top joints that were swollen, but at the time it has moved down to the entire toe. I am not sure if I should go visit a doctor for this issue. Do you know what this condition might be?


Hi Kayla,

cellulitis is certainly a possibility there would have to have been some sort of cut in the skin to both toes to cause cellulitis to form. The only way I can think of for this to happen with no history of trauma would have been if you have developed athletes foot in between the toes which became secondarily infected or if you have ingrown nails on both great toes that also became infected.
I would imagine you would have noticed those issues and mentioned them in your "story".
So, if that is not the case the next thing I would consider would be the possibility that you have inflammation in the toe joints. I do not know your age, nor anything about your medical history so I am only guessing here.
If you are post menopause then one of my concerns would be
gout , which commonly occurs in the big toe and can occur in both joints, although rare. The thing about gout is that it is usually self limiting and after a week or so, will calm down and in most cases disappear.
If it is not gout than it might be an arthritic flare up in the big toe joint, possibly the result of doing an excessive amount of walking one day, perhaps in shoes not designed for a lot of walking or just dress shoes that you probably should not have worn.
The best way to find out exactly what is causing your pain would be to visit a foot specialist in your area and get a proper diagnosis and treatment. If it turns out that your problem is due to an infection, the sooner you go see a doctor the better off you will be as infections can spread and can become a serious issue.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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