Toe Pain – in many forms!
Toe pain comes in many different forms and with some fabulous titles:
- Hammer Toes
- Mallet Toes
- Claw Toe
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
And don’t each of those sound hideously painful and terribly terminal?!
What they have in common
All of these conditions have different triggers and impacts on the toes and feet. But there are a few things they all have in common:
- They change the shape of your toes – instead of lying nice and flat at the end of your foot they bend and twist
- They make shoes uncomfortable – because shoes are designed for toes that lie flat! Especially anything that might be called “pretty” or “stylish”!
- They make your toes and toe joints inflamed and swollen – especially where they rub up against your shoes!
- NONE of them are caused by “too tight” shoes / heels – although wearing them right now is probably really uncomfortable!
Bones, Nerves and Blood
There are three broad categories of things that cause toe pain:
1. Foot Anatomy
- Hammer Toes, Mallet Toes, Claw Toe, Bunions
These are all conditions which start to affect how the small bones of the toes and feet “sit” together.
- Toes start to look twisted or out of place, they bend or curl over.
Toes rub against shoes because they are out of alignment.
2. Nerve inflammation and too much pressure
- Morton’s Neuroma and Metatarsalgia
- Excess pressure on the ball of the foot cause irritation of the nerves (Morton’s Neuroma) or swelling and irritation in the area (Metatarsalgia)
3. Other conditions
- Gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis can also cause pain, swelling and joint changes, particularly at the base of the big toe.
These are conditions that cause system wide joint changes but can be particularly uncomfortable in the feet.
What to do about it
With all of the conditions mentioned toe pain is a SYMPTOM of the problem.
And as I have said again and again and AGAIN over the last decade – you can get all the most amazing treatment in the world but if you are only treating the symptom not the cause, you won’t make the progress you expect.
So here’s what you can do –
There are some wonderful tapes and gadgets which help your toes feel more comfortable. Use them if they help! There’s not point suffering if a 5€ gadget makes you more comfortable right now.
Do your toe exercises! I’ve put them up on my website and Facebook page. Start doing them today
Take the pressure off the toes and the structures in the foot that lead up to the toes. Reduce the swelling in the toes themselves so you are comfortable enough to do your exercises. That means professional help!
Orthotics and orthopaedic shoes are no longer ugly or large (at least, they don’t have to be!). There are lots of options so find the one that fits your foot and your life!