The joints and tendons of the feet are responsible for supporting the body's entire weight when walking or standing. As a result, stress can irritate the tendons, leading to chronic pain known as tendinitis. A common place to experience foot pain is around the big toe, since the tendons supporting the toe can become inflamed from repeated pushing off with the toe, and impact to the ball of the foot.
Sesamoiditis is a condition where the tendons on the underside of the big toe, which contain tiny bones known as the sesamoids, become inflamed and painful. Similar to other types of tendinitis, sesamoiditis often occurs due to repetitive use of the feet and pushing off with the toes. Another telltale sign is that pain often occurs a day or two after activity, rather than occurring right away.
Turf toe is a common injury among athletes, especially football players and runners. It occurs when the ligaments and tendons of the big toe joint capsule are over stressed and strained or torn. This can lead to acute pain, than usually occurs as the result of a single violent straining incident. Usually turf toe occurs when the big toe is bent too far back toward the shin, relative to the rest of the foot.
Rehabilitating an injury that is causing chronic pain to the big toe tendons can take weeks or even months. An integral part of recovering from such an injury is resting the affected area to allow tendons to heal and keep them from becoming irritated and inflamed. This can be debilitating for athletes, as it can keep from being able to participate or train for their sport as they would like to. Activity should be resumed slowly after you can walk normally without pain.
The shoes you wear can play a significant role in big toe pain. If you have a high arch and are wearing shoes designed for someone with flat feet for instance, it might be harmful to your stride. It is a good idea to have a podiatrist or fitness shoe store attendant to examine your foot type and make a shoe recommendation based on your foot type and stride. You might also benefit from replacing old worn out shoes with newer shoes.
Anther way to reduce big toe pain is to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the big toe and the ball of the foot. One way to do this is through insoles and other shoe inserts. A well cushioned insole may help reduce stress onto the big toe, while a more expensive customised inserts called orthotics, are tailor made for your feet to help correct stability issues. You may also benefit from spot support. For instance, placing small cushioning like "dancer's pads" just under below the ball of the foot can displace some pressure away from the big toe and reduce strain.