What could be causing my big toe pain?

Pain localized directly under the big toe is often caused by a condition known as sesamoiditis. The ligament underneath the digit contains two tiny, pea-sized bones called sesamoids that act as pulleys and shock absorbers. When the bones and the surrounding tissues become irritated, usually as a result of overuse from activities like running or dancing, the result can be pain in the ball of your foot and reduced range of motion in your big toe.

Big toe pain from sesamoiditis usually builds gradually over time, as repeated stresses and weight bearing slowly magnify the discomfort. If pain is sharp and sudden, however, you may have fractured one of the bones, or developed a different forefoot condition.

The good news is that conservative treatments for sesamoiditis are usually effective—surgery is almost never required. Whether your pain is acute or chronic, call Foot Doctor of the East Bay at (510) 483-3390 for an evaluation and treatment. Let us guide you through the recovery process so you can get back to enjoying life pain-free. 

How can I tell if my toe is broken?

Often, if your toe is broken, you won’t have any doubt about it—the pain will be sudden and sharp and you may even here a cracking or popping sound, usually because you’ve stubbed it against something hard while running or dropped a heavy object on it. Of course, if the toe is smashed or crooked, it’s definitely broken.

However, if the break is more minor or you aren’t really sure, some other common signs include swelling, discoloration, and bruising. If the toe is in significant pain and you can’t put much weight on it, there’s a good chance (although far from a guarantee) that you may have a fracture.

The surest way to know, of course, is to visit Foot Doctor of the East Bay for an X-ray. We can confirm the existence of a fracture, as well as its exact location and severity, and help you develop the right treatment plan. Give us a call at (510) 483-3390 to set up an appointment at one of our three offices—we’re easily accessible from San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.

What is turf toe?

Everyone knows what an ankle sprain is—or at least they know what it feels like. Sprains result when hyperextension of a joint (either suddenly or gradually over time) causes the supporting ligaments to stretch too far, tear, or rupture. Turf toe is simply a sprain that occurs in the joint of your big toe.

So why is it called turf toe? Two major reasons: first, it’s especially common in athletes, particularly those who play sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, turning, and shifting. Second, it’s more common on artificial turf than natural grass, as the turf is harder and more likely to snag a wayward cleat.

If it isn’t severe, turf toe may not require any special medical treatment other than rest and immobilization of the joint. However, if pain is persistent, visit Foot Doctor of the East Bay. We can give you a full evaluation, rule out other potential injures (such as fractures), and set you on the path to recovery. Give us a call at (510) 483-3390.

What are the best shoes for claw toes?

Claw toes can make finding comfortable shoes that provide proper support a pain, but it’s not impossible—if you know what to look for.

The best shoes for claw toes, first and foremost, have extra depth, with wide and tall toe boxes and soft uppers to fit your curled digits and avoid painful, corn-causing friction. Check the inside for any raised seams—you may not notice them at first, but you’ll definitely notice the effects of them scratching against your skin every day.

Stiff soles and heel counters are also a good idea. They’ll help keep your foot firmly in place and deflect impact forces away from tender areas.

If you’re still having trouble, give Foot Doctor of the East Bay a call at (510) 483-3390. We can help you select a good pair from off the shelf, or help design a custom orthotic or shoe that more thoroughly addresses your needs. Set up an appointment today at our San Leandro, Pleasanton, or Los Gatos office.

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