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What Causes Toe Inflammation?

Toe inflammation can stem from various sources, including injuries, arthritis, gout, or infections. Each cause affects the toe's delicate structures, leading to pain and swelling. Understanding the specific trigger is crucial for effective treatment. Intrigued by how these factors affect your toes? See our visual guide for a clearer picture and learn more about keeping your feet healthy. What might be causing your discomfort?
Nya Bruce
Nya Bruce

When inflammation occurs in the toes it can be caused by a number of conditions, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, bunions, bursitis, or ingrown toenails. Toe inflammation is typically a protective measure that the body takes in reaction to injury or the presence of bacteria. This is generally a normal occurrence and it is a part of the natural way that the body heals. It may also be incorrectly triggered by certain conditions or diseases.

Gout, which is a type of arthritic condition, is one of the more common causes of toe inflammation. Symptoms of gout often affect the big toe, in which case it may be referred to as podagra. The inflammation is a result of excess uric acid building up in the toe joint. Inflammation that is caused by gout is often seen in people who are overweight, diabetic, have kidney disease, or that are taking certain medications.

A number of conditions can cause toe inflammation.
A number of conditions can cause toe inflammation.

Toe inflammation may also be caused by the autoimmune disease known as rheumatoid arthritis. For people with this condition, their body's immune system attacks tissue that is healthy as opposed to responding to injury or bacteria. When this occurs at the toe joints, the result is inflammation. Eventually this will cause other toe problems that can lead to changes that affect a person's ability to walk and wear most types of shoes.

Bunions can cause toe inflammation.
Bunions can cause toe inflammation.

Wearing too tight or narrow shoes can result in the formation of a bony "bump" at the base joint of the big toe. This bump, or protrusion, forms as the big toe is pushed inward and is forced to overlap the toe beside it. As a result, this often causes toe inflammation and pain to occur.

Between the joints and tendons, there are fluid-filled sacs that can become inflamed after overuse or excess friction. These sacs are called bursae and they frequently occur at the base of the big toe, although they can occur at any of the toe joints. When the bursae in the toes becomes inflamed the toes will likely become inflamed as well. This condition is called bursitis and it frequently occurs alongside bunions due to the friction of the protruding bone rubbing against the shoe.

Toe inflammation is often caused by gout.
Toe inflammation is often caused by gout.

If toe inflammation occurs around the nail of a toe, an ingrown toenail may be the cause. An ingrown toenail is a nail whose edge has begun to grow into the skin of the toe. It typically occurs when nails are clipped too short, however wearing shoes that do not fit properly may also result in ingrown nails and painful inflammation. Fractured or broken toes are another cause of toe inflammation. This type of toe injury often occurs when someone stubs a toe against a hard object, and it may occur while playing sports.

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Discussion Comments

Primemobi

Ingrown toenails can be prevented by clipping the nail straight across instead of rounded. Ingrown toenails are extremely painful and can result in a trip to a professional to have the offending nail cut out. I once had an ingrown toenail but was thankfully able to take care of it myself. It affects your ability to walk or even wear shoes. If you experience tenderness and/or redness and swelling around the toenail edges, take care of it immediately. An ingrown toenail can quickly get out of hand.

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    • A number of conditions can cause toe inflammation.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      A number of conditions can cause toe inflammation.
    • Bunions can cause toe inflammation.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Bunions can cause toe inflammation.
    • Toe inflammation is often caused by gout.
      By: Alila Medical Media
      Toe inflammation is often caused by gout.
    • An ingrown toenail may be the cause of inflammation around the nail of the toe.
      By: adam88xx
      An ingrown toenail may be the cause of inflammation around the nail of the toe.
    • Broken toes can cause toe inflammation.
      By: Julija Sapic
      Broken toes can cause toe inflammation.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis can cause toe inflammation.
      By: designua
      Rheumatoid arthritis can cause toe inflammation.
    • Wearing high heels may cause toe inflammation.
      By: Savannah1969
      Wearing high heels may cause toe inflammation.