Why Do I Have Pain When Pushing Off My Toe?

Last updated: 06-26-2020

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Why Do I Have Pain When Pushing Off My Toe?

Our toes are the last part of our body that handles force as we push off with our foot to walk or run, so if something is wrong with your toe, you’ll notice it with every step you take. But what could be causing this pain when pushing off your toe, and how can you best treat it? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog.
Toe Hurts When Pushing Off
If you’re experiencing pain in your big toe when pushing off the ground when walking or running, you may be dealing with a couple different issues. Here’s a look at three of the most common problems that present with this symptom, and how to treat them.

Turf Toe – You may have heard this term if you are watching a football or soccer broadcast, and while it is true that it tends to affect athletes that make quick and sharp movements, it’s not isolated to athletes. Turf toe occurs when you sprain one or more of the ligaments around your big toe joint. This can be caused by a sudden, forceful movement, or as a result of repetitive stress, which is commonly seen in runners. The best way to treat turf toe is with acute rest followed by targeted physical therapy. Your doctor may recommend a few weeks of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) along with anti-inflammatory pain medications. After a couple weeks, physical therapy exercises to stabilize and strengthen the joint may begin.

Metatarsalgia – Metatarsalgia is a condition that is categorized by irritation or inflammation of the metatarsals of your feet. Your metatarsals are the long bones that run from your foot arch to your toes. Oftentimes pain is felt just beneath your second, third or fourth toes, and it’s worse when you’re walking or running. You can learn more about the condition on this page, but as for treatment, it’s similar to turf toe. You’ll want to reduce physical activity and stress on the area in the short-term, and then eventually add some strength training exercises that improve the supportive tissues in your arch and forefoot.

Toe Fractures – The final condition that could be causing pain when you push off is the most easily identifiable condition, and that’s the toe fracture. Now, you may not know whether your toe is fractured or bruised, but odds are there was an acute moment of injury that led to your pain onset. For example, maybe you stubbed your toe on a chair or dropped a heavy item on your toes. It’s pretty easy to determine why you’re experiencing pain when you push off your toe if it happens after acute trauma to the area. Unless it’s a crush injury, doctors usually treat bruised and broken toes the same way, with rest, pain medications and gradual return to weight bearing activities.

If you are dealing with pain in your toe when pushing off your foot, reach out to Dr. Silverman and the team at Silverman Ankle & Foot for assistance.


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