Tuesday, 05 September 2023 00:00

Toes and Balance

The toes are often overlooked in adulthood, but they play a vital role in our balance and mobility. Each toe, except the big toe, is comprised of three bones each and supports roughly 75% of our body weight during walking, balance, and movement. Proper toe function involves spreading them wide for stability and providing a boost as the foot lifts off the ground, aiding stride length and speed. Toes also serve as information conduits, relaying shifts in body weight to the brain for adjustments. When toes are injured or stiff, it can impact your gait and lead to imbalances in other muscles and joints, potentially causing issues like knee, hip, or lower back pain. Ill-fitting shoes and tight socks can lead to cramped toes, resulting in painful bunions and an increased risk of fungal infections. Treatment for toe pain varies, with anti-inflammatories or pain relief for conditions like gout or arthritis. Mechanical issues in the foot can also cause toe pain, affecting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If you have toe pain, it is suggested that you make an appointment with a podiatrist to assess your feet and gait to identify the underlying cause and prevent it from affecting other body parts

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Richard P. Jacoby, DPM of Extremity Health Centers. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Scottsdale and Buckeye, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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