When the base of your big toe is sore, the pain can make it hard to walk, play, and enjoy your favorite activities. Figuring out what's causing your pain is the first step to treating it and getting on with your daily life. Here's a look at two of the most likely causes of pain as the base of the big toe.
Do you partake in an activity like ballet, running, or long jumping in which you regularly put a lot of strain on your big toe? If so, there's a good chance your pain is caused by a condition known as sesamoiditis. This is an inflammation of the tendons that connect the bones at the base of your big toe to the muscles in the foot. It can be brought on by one quick, jolting turn of the foot or by repetitive motion.
Usually, if you have sesamoiditis, the pain will get worse after you walk or otherwise use your big toe. You may notice a small amount of swelling in the area. If you think sesamoiditis may be to blame for your pain, it's time to take a break from any athletic activities. Spend as much time off your feet as possible, and ice the painful area. Only wear shoes without heels to avoid putting extra pressure on your toe. If the symptoms don't improve within a week or so, contact your podiatrist. He or she may recommend orthotics or steroid injections to speed your recovery.
Does the pain seem to come on suddenly at night? Is it accompanied by intense stiffness, a burning sensation, and notable swelling of the area? If so, chances are good that you're suffering from gout, a form of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints. As time goes on, you may start developing symptoms in other joints, such as your ankles and knees, too.
Gout is a complex condition that is most common in those who are overweight, drink a lot of alcohol, or take a lot of diuretics. You should seek prompt treatment from a physician if you think you may have gout. He or she can administer a corticosteroid injection to ease the symptoms in the short term. Following a special diet that's low in compounds called purines (this involves limiting your intake of meat and seafood), and taking a medication to keep your levels of uric acid low will help prevent future gout attacks.
For more information, contact Orvitz Podiatry Clinic foot care or a similar location.