What To Do About Nerve Pain in Your Big Toe

Nerve pain is often referred to as neuralgia, and when it happens in your big toe, it is awful. A nerve pain big toe feeling is a dreadful nightmare to have to live through because you are walking in pain all day, every day. At the same time, big toe nerve pain is very difficult to treat, because nerve pain can be like that. Doctors will try multiple different methods of treating the nerve pain because it can be very difficult to make it go away. It’s important to address big toe nerve pain quickly when it starts because it will impair and impact how you walk every day. If it is not treated, you may find that your quality of life will suffer significantly. Use this guide and learn what to do about nerve pain in your big toe when it starts.

Understanding Nerve Pain

Having pain in your big toe can be frustrating, and even embarrassing sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be. When you understand what is going on with your pain, it will be easier to treat. Nerve pain in the big toe can be caused by many different things, and understanding the cause of your nerve pain will help you to treat it, and feel and walk better in no time.


There are many known causes of big toe nerve pain, but sometimes the initial cause can be hard to pinpoint. A trauma to the foot such as a bruise or a sprain can cause big toe nerve pain. If there is trauma such as a fracture, you may find pain there as well. In some cases, trauma to the toe or a disease can cause nerve damage that will result in nerve pain. Diabetes is one disease where nerve damage can lead to nerve pain in the big toe.

Nerve damage will also result in compressed nerves that create nerve pain in the big toe. Other causes of nerve pain can include surface pain or damage. As there are many nerves in the big toe, friction and pressure will result in big toe nerve damage. If you have corn, for example, that goes untreated, you may wind up with big toe nerve damage.

Other diseases that cause big toe nerve damage include inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. These are diseases that attack the immune system and make it difficult, and in some cases, impossible to heal from things that attack the human body. One disease that may result in big toe nerve pain is arthritis. This is a pain that will feel like it is very difficult to treat, and in some cases, it will be.

Bruises can be another factor in big toe nerve pain. A bruise is a series of broken blood vessels underneath the skin. Blood vessels are important components of the body that take blood to the heart. When the skin is bruised, what happens is there are broken blood vessels underneath the skin.

That blood becomes a pool in the body, and instead of going to the heart, stays in that location until the blood vessels have healed again. Blood is red in the body, and when it pools it will turn blue and purple. You will see the color of bruises change and fade when bruises heal. If this is the cause of your big toe nerve pain, this bruise will heal and the nerve pain will go away with the bruise.

There are some nerve conditions that will be susceptible to hot or cold environments. One of those is Raynaud disorder and that problem can manifest in the big toe. This disease will make the skin and the body parts feel pain or irritation when the toe is exposed to the elements. Women are more likely to experience this, but men can experience nerve pain in the big toe as well.

If you have chronic big toe nerve pain that appears suddenly, you may want to check for any foot problems outside a bruise or an environmental problem like a fracture. A nail infection can result in extraordinary big toe pain that can also impact your nerves. Check your nails and your toes for any signs of infection or problems. Other issues like bunions and gout can also be the cause of nerve pain in the big toe.


While there may be many known causes of nerve pain in the big toe, the symptoms will be relatively similar across every cause and disorder. Nerve pain is excruciating and prolonged. It feels like there is nothing that can be done about it. There is, but it can feel so awful at times that it feels like it will just not ever go away.

When you have big toe nerve pain, the pain is going to be felt every time you take a step. There will be significant pain when you walk, or put any kind of pressure on the big toe. You may also feel like the rest of your foot is experiencing tenderness or is painful to the touch. There could be some swelling and bruising and your foot may be discolored due to the injury, disorder, or bruising.

When you have big toe nerve pain, be sure to document your symptoms and when you get them. You may find that symptoms worsen with time. If the symptoms do not go away, you will need to see a doctor. The more you can note what is happening, the easier it will be for your doctor to diagnose and treat your nerve pain in the big toe.

Diagnosing Nerve Pain in the Big Toe

Nerve pain in the big toe, or anywhere, can be very difficult to diagnose. You will likely need to have specialized imaging performed in order to take a deeper look at your nerves and what is going on there. After learning of your symptoms, your doctor may want to take X-rays and MRI images in order to get a better look at your pain. A bone scan also may be ordered to ensure there is nothing serious going on or to rule out bone damage.

An X-ray will help your doctor determine that the nerve pain in your big toe is not caused by a broken bone. Ultrasound is an imaging technique where sound waves create images that can help your doctor to identify problems. Your doctor may want more detailed imaging such as MRI, which is magnetic resonance imaging, where magnets are used with radio-wave technology in order to create a visual field of the underlying tissues.

Nerve pain in the big toe is something that is not always going to go away. If you have been bruised or sprained, and it disappears, the pain might go away. However, when it doesn’t, you need to have that checked. It is very important to consult with your health care professional when you are dealing with chronic pain that makes it very difficult to walk.

Treatment Options

There are many different treatment options when you have big toe nerve pain. You may need to take medication to help you heal from the pain and from the cause of the pain. Pain management may be the only thing you need. In some cases, surgery may be what you need for big toe nerve pain.

Medical Interventions

There are many different medical interventions when it comes to big toe nerve pain. Because big toe nerve pain will have an impact on how you walk every day, it is incredibly important that you see a doctor if the pain goes on for more than a few days. If the nerve pain is caused by nerve damage, the sooner you get to a doctor or healthcare practitioner, the better it is for the nerve pain. Life will become more comfortable, and you will see an improved quality of life with treatment.

When your pain goes on severely or feels debilitating, see a doctor. You also want to see a doctor when the pain doesn’t go away after a week. You may have an infection that you can’t see, and if there is a fever or discharge, you’ll want to see a doctor as well. Here you will need medication for both the pain and the infection.

Other treatments you may have with a doctor are surgery and injections. You may need surgical help to either treat the nerve damage or to repair the nerve altogether. Injections can also be given that will help to reduce inflammation in the joints. You may also simply need pain management medication, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or prescription painkillers that can help you numb the pain and improve your quality of life a little bit.

At-Home Remedies

There are many different home remedies that you can use to treat big toe nerve pain. The RICE method where you use rest and ice in order to treat the pain will work intermittently or on occasion. Using compression with the big toe will help as well. Elevating the big toe is also part of the RICE method and can help you get through the day when you are dealing with that kind of pain.

You can also add lifestyle changes such as a brace or orthotic and change the footwear you use when you have big toe nerve pain. You may want a cane or a brace as well. Additionally, you may want to reduce some of your physical activity to alleviate some of the burden of this pain.

There are many homeopathic things that you can do like the RICE method. Essential oils, foot spas, and foot pampering can help. You may want to try taking care of your feet more with moisturizers and relaxing homeopathic baths or soaks. This will help you to relax more when you are in pain and may help your foot to feel better.

Prevention Strategies

It is very difficult to prevent nerve pain once it begins. However, if you are on your feet a lot, you may want to consider good footwear and a healthy activity level. Rest your feet when you can, and take care of your feet when you can. Keep your feet clean, and check them daily for problems.

Pamper yourself. Use elements like clove oil and turmeric in compresses and in your foot soaks. You will become relaxed and find some of these methods much more successful than pain management when you have foot pain. Methods like acupuncture and massage can also help you to prevent nerve pain in the big toe.

Reduce Foot Pain Today

When you have nerve pain in the big toe, it may feel like that is the only thing happening in your life. That is what pain does, it takes over. Nerve pain in an area that you are stepping on every day will become emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. Get your nerve pain checked by a doctor as soon as it starts, and get it treated before it becomes a long-term issue.

Photo of author

Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

Recommended Articles


  1. https://www.footcaremd.org/conditions-treatments/toes/big-toe-arthritis-hallux-rigidus
  2. https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/gout
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/foot-pain/toe-pain/
  4. https://rheumatology.org/patients/gout
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/healthy-feet.html
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/types/gout.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Farthritis%2Fbasics%2Fgout.html
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mortons-neuroma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351939
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mortons-neuroma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351939