Second Toe Pain- What Causes It?
Second toe pain can be highly irritating, and you might end up searching for different remedies to lessen the pain. Pain in your second toe can be mainly due to injuries are a few health conditions that can also cause second toe pain.
A person has 28 bones inside the feet. Among these, 14 are present in the toes. These bones function together with tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints to help a person walk, provide balance, and provide support. Second toe pain may lead to discomfort and aching.
If you are having second toe pain, you might find difficulty walking. In this article, you will come across all the causes of second toe pain, treatment options, and when to visit a doctor for help.
Causes of second toe pain
1. Capsulitis of the second toe
Capsulitis is a disease that leads to irritation and swelling of the ligament capsule at the bottom of your second toe, causing second toe pain. While it is possible to have capsulitis in any of your toes, the second toe is more commonly affected compared to others.
Signs linked to second toe pain when it arises from capsulitis condition (also known as dislocation syndrome) are given below:
- discomfort at the ball of the foot
- pain that heightens when you walk barefoot
- inflammation in the toes, specifically at the base of your second toe
- trouble wearing shoes or putting on socks.
Occasionally, a person with second toe capsulitis will report they feel as if they are walking with a hard surface like a marble within their shoe or that their sock is clustered beneath their foot.
The most familiar cause of capsulitis is inappropriate foot mechanics, and this means the ball of your foot might have to sustain excessive pressure. Different causes of this condition might include:
- the bunion that causes deformity
- second toe that is more elongate than a big toe
- unstable arch
- tight calf muscles
Many traditional treatments can ease capsulitis condition, including:
- relaxing and using ice on the affected area
- splinting and taping
- taking suggested nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- performing stretches indicated by a doctor
- wearing shoes that provide support with stiff soles
- employing orthotic devices, like arch supports
Without seeking any treatment, capsulitis can lead to inflamed ligaments weakening. This can further lead to your second toe crossing on the top of your big toe, known as a crossover toe. Further, capsulitis can cause your toe to become dislocated.
If an individual grows a crossover toe, they might require surgery to fix it. In circumstances of crossover, subluxation, and dislocation, the toes might rub against your shoes. The friction this creates might further lead to corns, leading to cracks in the skin and causing infection.
Metatarsalgia is another condition that generates pain in the ball of your foot. The pain can centralize under your second toe leading to second toe pain.
Generally, metatarsalgia starts as a callus on the base of the foot. The callus will stress nerves and other structures surrounding the second toe.
The most well-known cause of metatarsalgia is putting on shoes that do not fit nicely. Too-tight shoes can lead to friction that creates a callus, while loose shoes may also irritate a callus by constantly rubbing as you walk.
Metatarsalgia can be treated using the following:
- metatarsal pad insoles
- shoe wear modification
- physical therapy
3. Ingrown toenail
When your toenail is ingrained into your toe’s skin on either one or both sides, you will get an ingrown toenail. Signs incorporate a toe that feels too hard to the touch and painful and tender. Wound, cutting toenails excessively short, or wearing too-tight shoes can lead to an ingrown toenail.
Ingrown toenails will cause the following:
Ingrown toenails may also further lead to a person acquiring an infection in their toe.
If a person senses an ingrown toenail, they must see a doctor if they have any of the following issues:
- nerve damage within the foot
- poor circulation
The doctors can then treat the patient using antibiotics or perform minor surgery.
An individual without infection, or a high-risk medical situation, might be able to treat their ingrown toenail at home itself. Home treatments for conditions like ingrown toenails involve drowning the toe in warm water and gently massaging the nail fold.
4. Tight-fitting shoes
Also called Morton’s foot, Morton’s toe arises when an individual’s second toe is more elongated than their first toe. Sometimes, an individual can undergo symptoms of dissimilarity in toe length, involving second toe pain, hammertoes, and bunions. They might also have issues in locating a shoe that fits nicely.
A person having Morton’s toe also might adjust their walk by diverting their weight to the ball of the foot at the bottom of their second through fifth toes rather than the base of their big toe. This can lead to discomfort and further cause musculoskeletal difficulties if not corrected.
5. Morton’s neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is another condition that generally grows between the third and fourth toes but can also lead to discomfort in other toes. This particular condition occurs when an individual grows a thickening of tissues closer to the nerve that guides to the toes. A person cannot feel this thickening but will feel the symptoms it generates, including the ones given below:
- scorching pain in the ball of their foot that usually extends to their toes
- numbness within the toes
- pain in the toes that heightens while wearing shoes, particularly when putting-on high heels
Morton’s neuroma is generally considered the result of surplus pressure, injury, or irritation to the bones or ligament of the foot and toes.
Signs of Morton’s neuroma are:
- a sensation of something being inside the shoe
- a feeling of something within the ball of the foot
Remedy for treating Morton’s neuroma include the following:
- arch support
- chilling or icing the affected area
- orthotic devices
- limiting activities that set pressure on the neuroma
- putting on shoes with a broad toe box
- injections of local anesthetics or cortisone
- surgery, if immune to all the other treatments
The Bottom Line
Second toe pain can be caused due to different conditions and injuries. The pain usually is not a cause for emergency and can be ministered at home using home remedies until the pain does not grow worse.
However, if the symptoms suggest that you’re not getting adequate blood flow to the toe (such as the toe turning blue color or very pale), seek emergency medical attention.
Sometimes, when your second toe is longer than the first toe (it is a common condition as many people have it), it can cause pain as the weight shift to the second toe. Here’s what you need to know about this condition.