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A sore big toe may seem harmless but can be a major inconvenience. It can negatively impact your balance and ability to walk and interfere with your everyday activities.
While there may be many causes of pain in the toes, the remedies are usually simple and universal. This article lists some effective home treatments for a sore big toe.
Home Treatments for a Sore Big Toe
Here are some easy treatments you can try to alleviate the pain from a sore big toe.
1. Rest, apply ice, and elevate
If you have stubbed or injured your toe, the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method is a good way to numb the pain. (1)
Ice can help reduce inflammation and pain as the cold temperature numbs the nerve endings. Elevating the toe also helps reduce inflammation by draining excess fluid from the injury.
2. Soak in warm water
Warm water can also be a similar quick remedy for pain. You can use a warm water soak for pain relief if you are sure there is no abscess or pus collection in the toe.
The warmth helps increase blood flow to the area, and adding a little salt to the warm water may also help prevent infections. (4)
3. Wear wide comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole
Toe pain caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes is a common problem among all age groups. Wearing the correct shoe size and type for your comfort is important to avoid wear and tear on the feet.
If you have toe pain, try to avoid wearing high heels. Instead, opt for comfortable flats. You can also get special orthotic shoes made. (5)
4. Perform gentle stretching exercises
Stretching exercises to help ease joint pain are recommended by physiotherapists and doctors alike. They can be helpful in people suffering from toe pain due to arthritis, hammertoes, or bunions.
You can consult a podiatrist or physiotherapist to get some guidance on the correct way to perform gentle stretching exercises for toe pain. (6)
Here’s an easy and simple stretching exercise:
- Keep your toe straight for 5–6 seconds.
- Curl them inward for another 5 seconds.
- Repeat at least 10 times in a row.
5. Use toe stretchers
Toe stretchers are products designed to separate your toes from each other and also from your soles. This helps alleviate toe pain and reduce problems such as bunions.
Toe stretchers are usually made of plastic or silicone and sit in between your toes. Nowadays, they are also available in the form of socks.
You should wear toe stretchers while resting. Do not wear them excessively as this can increase the toe pain initially. (7)
Additional Self-Care Tips to Deal With Sore Big Toe
Here are some self-care tips you can use in your day-to-day life:
1. Slim down if you’re overweight
If you are overweight or obese, the extra weight may be contributing to the increased pressure on your knees and feet. Every pound you lose will help reduce this pressure and the pain or soreness in your lower extremities. (8)
Staying active and exercising regularly help you stay in shape and improve blood circulation. Low-intensity exercises such as walking, jogging, and swimming are ideal.
Try to get half an hour of aerobic exercise every day. (9)
2. Try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements
These supplements can help protect your cartilage and prevent chronic pain.
3. Ensure adequate calcium intake
People suffering from hypothyroidism tend to have decreased calcium levels in the blood. (10) Consult your doctor for the proper guidance.
Most-Asked Questions About a Sore Big Toe
Why does my big toe feel numb?
Wearing tight shoes, gout, or osteoarthritis are common reasons for numbness in the big toe.
How do I know if I broke or sprained my toe?
Bruising, swelling, change in shape, and/or pain while moving are common symptoms of a sprained or broken toe.
What are the things to avoid after a toe injury?
Do not wear heels or tight footwear. Try to avoid walking or standing for long periods.
Big toe pain is a common yet annoying problem to deal with. Try the home remedies given above for quick relief.
If your toe pain continues, it may be best to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.