Toe Joint Pain doesn't sound like a big deal until YOU have it.
But every step you take is a KILLER when you have a problem with a toe joint.
One big complication with toe joint issues is that with each step, you irritate the already irritated dynamic. If you break your arm you can cast it and put it in a sling and not use it. But when a joint of the toe is hurting, it's nearly impossible to not use it.
What causes pain in toe joints, and what do you do about it?
There are many, many possible causes of toe joint pain.
How many, you ask? The 8 main causes (in no particular order) are:
Essentially a bone bruise, when joints are compressed impactfully, or suffer any forceful impact from any direction, the tissue of the joint (bone and/or connective tissue wrapping and/or interior joint lining and cartilage and bone) get bruised.
This can be very painful, and SLOW to recover unless you take measures to speed up that recovery.
See: Bone Bruise
When the muscles that connect to and control the toes aren't functioning properly (due to the tendonitis dynamic tightness, inflammation, and lack of nutrition) they don't absorb force like they're supposed to.
That force has to go somewhere, in this case to the tendon under the toe. Eventually, it tears. This is PAINFUL, and hard to heal because your doctor won't tell you how to heal it effectively (even if you have surgery to repair the tendon).
See: Turf Toe
Arthritis In The Toe
Arthritis in toe joints is a major cause of toe joint pain.
If it's osteoarthritis, then tight muscles are constantly compressing the toe joint, so it's grinding on itself constantly.
If it's rheumatoid arthritis, then it's a systemic issue causing the joint pain, and that pain causes tightness so soon the joint is also compressed and constantly grinding on itself (which causes more pain).
In both scenario's the toe arthritis is really a symptom of a larger problem. So to get rid of the toe pain you have to get rid of the larger problem that is CAUSING the toe pain.
See: What Is Arthritis?
The muscles that connect to the toes connect by way of tendons. It's only tendons that cross toe joints and attach to the toe bones.
When those muscles aren't working properly, the tendons get over-stressed. So there's pain and inflammation right there at the toe joint.
Not only do the toe joints pick up some of that stress and pain from inflammation, but the joint(s) get compressed. All of that works together to cause pain.
See: What Is Tendonitis?
Plantar Fasciitis isn't usually considered a cause of joint pain (toe or ankle), but the same factors that cause plantar fasciitis are the same factors that cause to joint problems.
Tight muscles and connective tissue in the lower leg and the foot not only pull on and compress toe joints, but set up the lack of mechanical functionality that then puts too much stress on one or more toes.
See: Plantar Fasciitis
Gout or Pseudogout
Due to dietary issues, crystals form in the joint. The crystals micro-injure the inside of the joint, which hurts. And then inflammation process builds up and releases more and more pain enhancing chemical, so even more pain.
Gout hurts toes, but isn't specifically a joint or a toe problem, it's a systemic, dietary problem that people feel in the foot and joints of the foot.
Strain Or Sprain
A strain is small damage to muscle and/or tendon.
A sprain is small damage to ligament.
Toes are small structures. Ligaments hold the joints together. Tendons cross toe joints, connect to bone, and pull in various directions.
Strain or sprain will cause symptoms of joint pain anywhere in the toe that is affected.
Fractured Or Broken Toe
When toe bones break, it makes everything in the area hurt. The impact involved will also cause a bone bruise (and maybe a joint bruise, depending).
All of the above are causes of Big Toe Joint Pain.
Doctors have a tough time getting rid of toe joint problems. Mostly they advise you to stay off your feet, often in a 'boot' or splint or brace.
And that might help, but unless you get rid of the factors that actually caused the joint pain, those factors will continue to push for pain.
And in the cases of pain from impact, the impact causes pain (if no damage) and that pain kicks in those factors...so then you have those factors pushing for more pain.
Additionally, every step you take on the affected foot adds irritation to the already irritated dynamic. So as the body is trying to heal and get rid of pain, you keep hurting it a little with every step.
Depending on your scenario, pain will eventually go away. But when it doesn't, and that's why you're here, it's time to get to work doing things that will actually help.
One of the main mechanisms of most causes of toe joint pain is the Pain Causing Dynamic.
The Pain Causing Dynamic consists of:
One of the main causes of your experience of pain with your toe joint problem is that the Process of Inflammation releases chemicals that increase your sensitivity to pain.
Thus you have pain enhancing chemical floating around in your tissue. The more you have, the more you hurt.
So one way to quickly lower pain levels is to get that chemical out of your toe. Learn How To Reduce Inflammation.
You will Ice Dip as described, as much as you are motivated to do. And that will drop pain levels.
Reducing the pain is not a fix, but it definitely makes your day easier. And it will help speed your recovery as well. Less pain signal to the brain helps your brain relax, drop it's guard, and allow things to get back to normal.
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