The joint at the base of the big toe can become painful for a number of reasons. Arthritis, a bunion, and gout are three of the most common causes of pain in the big toe, as inflammation can result in pain and swelling.

If you are experiencing significant or prolonged pain in the toe joint or elsewhere in the foot, a skilled podiatrist can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment that works for you. Let’s talk about some of the most frequent issues that can cause pain in the joints of the big toe:


A bunion is a bony bump that develops at the outer base of the big toe. It occurs when the toes are squeezed together repeatedly, such as when wearing tight shoes, so that the big toe is pushed inward toward the other toes. This forces the joint at the base of the big toe to stick out.

Bunions can get progressively worse over time. The skin over the bunion can also become red and sore, especially because the foot is rubbing further against the shoe due to the extra pressure from the bone.

Factors that can cause or increase the chances of developing bunions include wearing tight or narrow shoes or high heels, a foot deformity, hereditary factors, or a medical condition such as arthritis or polio.


Arthritis describes more than 100 diseases that cause inflammation in and around the joints. Common symptoms include recurring pain or tenderness in a joint, restricted motion, and stiffness – particularly in the morning.

The most common types of arthritis that affect the big toe are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout:


Usually just called “arthritis,” osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones in a joint gradually wears away, which can lead to painful bone-on-bone rubbing as you move the joint. This is the most common type of arthritis, and it can even develop in young athletes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective lining of the joints, and this lining is called the synovium. RA can result in a number of different symptoms such as pain and swelling in the joints, and it primarily affects the small joints in the feet and hands. RA can also affect other organs in the body as a rheumatic disease.


Gout is a type of arthritis that results from a buildup of uric acid in the body, so it can usually be controlled by drinking plenty of pure water. Gout frequently affects the joint at the base of the big toe, causing symptoms including joint pain, redness, and swelling. Symptoms often occur suddenly and can be worse at night.

Podiatrists for Joint Pain in Cincinnati, Ohio

If you have joint pain in your big toe, have it taken care of once and for all by an expert podiatrist here at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. We have many locations across the Cincinnati area for your convenience.

For more information about the services we provide or to schedule an appointment, call us today at a location near you or fill out our online form now. We look forward to serving you!