What Is Causing My Toe Pain?
Posted on Oct 05, 2020

Foot pain can make simple, everyday actions like walking and standing difficult. However, identifying the root cause of pain can be easier said than done.

Pain in the toes or base of the toes can have many different causes. This pain is usually felt at the ‘ball of the foot.’ Here are just a few common reasons.


1. Morton’s neuroma

This condition is sometimes caused by swelling in the joints of the toes at the ball of the foot.

This joint swelling might be enough to irritate nerves in the toes.

The nerves that give you feeling in your toes run close to the sole of the foot within the webspaces. Pressure from the joints on either side of that nerve can cause it to hurt.

More commonly, a tight ligament between the long toe bones actually presses onto the nerve itself to cause this pain.

The pressure on these digital (or toe) nerves lead to numbness, pain, and even burning sensations in the sole of the foot at the ball of the foot, specifically in the toes.

This can also feel like stepping on a stone or scrunched fabric.

2. Bunions

A bunion is a bump that forms on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. This is an angular deformity of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the great toe.

What you perceive as the ‘bunion’ is actually What you perceive as the ‘bunion’ is actually the side of the long toe bone protruding into the skin from that angulation.

This can also occur on the opposite side of the foot at the base of the little toe (a bunionette).

Genetics, injury, arthritis, deformity and muscular imbalances can all cause these bumps to form.

Tight or ill-fitting shoes can make one very much aware of bunions as pressure on a bunion generally intensifies the pain.  

In some cases, the size and severity of the bunion can cause the big toe to point inwards towards the other toes.

Some people develop ‘cross-over toes.’ This is when the great toe and second toe actually cross.

Bunion pain can range from moderate to severe and be accompanied by swelling, irritation, and even mobility issues.

3. Hammertoe

A hammertoe is indicated by an unnatural bend in the joint of the toe, caused by genetics, injury, or wearing ill-fitting footwear.

A bunion can sometimes lead to a hammertoe due to muscular imbalances and toe pressure.

The second toe is most commonly affected, though any toe can be impaired.

The abnormal flexion at the small joint within the toe can cause the toe to point downward.

This will sometimes lead to the formation of a callus or sore on the top of that joint due to shear forces from your shoes.

The affected toe can feel painful or stiff to the touch or become totally immobile and require surgical repair.

4. Arthritis

Pain and stiffness in the joints of the toes may be indicative of arthritis. This may be felt at the bends of the toe joints or the base of the toes.

Wear and tear on the joints can lead to inflammation and a decreased range of motion. Arthritis can strike anywhere in the foot, of course.

There is a wide range of ways that arthritis can manifest, from degenerative arthritis (such as osteoarthritis that causes the breakdown of cartilage) to inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis that causes the joints to swell).

Sometimes, with true cartilage damage or breaks, traumatic arthritis can develop too.

5. Poor Footwear

Shoes with tight, narrow toe boxes or poor structure can lead to numerous areas of foot pain, from arch pain, to heel pain, to toe pain.

High heels, shoes that lack support, or footwear that comes to a point at the toes can constrict and irritate the feet and lead to pain from a number of the conditions listed above.

If you have one of the above conditions, the easiest way to ease the discomfort is often to find a better shoe that actually fits!

These are just a few possible causes of toe pain from a sea of potential reasons. Other serious conditions including gout and diabetes may also be the source.

To confirm your particular cause and head off other serious issues, make sure to consult with your personal physician or podiatrist as soon as possible.


Relief doesn’t have to be expensive or chemically-laden. Our Well Theory products were designed by Dr. Meredith Warner, the orthopedic surgeon behind The Healing Sole.

These products are formulated with natural ingredients including PEA, lidocaine, essential oils, and menthol to powerfully and effectively alleviate pain, soreness, and sensitivity in the feet. 

Our Foot Pain Relief Cream can help you to find relief easily and quickly.

Spread a thin layer across the toes, heels, arch, ankles, or wherever else in the feet you are experiencing pain.

Gently massage this in and allow the magic of our ingredients to work.

Our Essential Multivitamins are also designed for daily use in pain management.

These are packed with PEA and natural ingredients to help you regulate daily health and wellness while fighting pain.

Give our product 5-7 days to offer their optimal level of pain relief!


At The Healing Sole, we’ve developed a flip flop specifically for those with toe pain.

Our Palmer flip flop is designed with all of the same features of our original flip flop:

  • a metatarsal bar
  • a rocker bottom sole
  • raised-arch support
  • and a compressible and non-compressible heel

However, there is one key difference in the Palmer flip flop: the absence of the elevated toe ramp.

The elimination of this ramp provides additional comfort and accessibility to those who are experiencing pain in the toes and balls of the feet.

This way, you can enjoy our flip flops and the pain-fighting features they offer without further strain or irritation in these particular areas of sensitivity.

Order our Palmer flip flops today to find relief from foot pain!