Why does gout hurt when I walk

Toe Pain - Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Toe Pain - When walking becomes torture

We all know painful toes, and the cause is usually harmless: our shoes put pressure on them, especially on the big or small toes, and we put a lot of strain on our toes on long hikes. Before the rest of the foot hurts, we notice the discomfort in the toe area.

Causes of Toe Pain

Toe pain usually has a harmless cause that we also know ourselves, namely shoes that are too tight or poorly cut. Depending on how much the shoe pinches, our toes hurt after a few hundred meters or after a long hike. In general, the shoe can be too small if, for example, we wear shoe size 40, although we have 42. Or it may be the right size, but there is no freedom for the toes in the front area.

This may be due to the poor quality of the shoes, but also to our feet. Pointed Italian patent leather shoes are unsuitable for anyone who has arch feet.

A classic for toe and foot pain are women's high-heeled shoes. They look good, but they kink the foot at an angle that does not correspond to the natural position. The gradient puts extreme stress on the toes - the person walking on the soles is inevitably turned into a walking on the toes.

This pain is not to be trifled with - unlike shoes that are just too tight, high heels can permanently deform the toes. Such a misalignment ensures that the pain becomes chronic.

The friction irritates the skin, the tightness squeezes in particular the little toe and scrapes the skin. Blisters hurt too.

An ingrown toenail, cornea, osteoarthritis, and gout also cause pain.


Accidents are more serious than tight shoes, be it a twisted foot during sports or a bar that falls on the big toe: the result is bruises, bruises and sprains, in worse cases toe bones break.

While an overstrained foot in a tight shoe relaxes quickly when we take off the oppressive prison, sprains and fractures can only heal if we take care of the foot for a long time.

Sore toes from warts

Warts on the toes cause pain, especially if they form where the balls of your feet and toes meet. Then they press automatically while running. Those affected should treat such a wart or have it removed by a doctor. In particular, smaller warts can be effectively combated with anti-wart products, especially acids. A doctor can cut out the wart.

With warts, plucking, scratching, peeling or rubbing must be taboo so that they do not spread to other parts of the body. Those affected should also not walk barefoot, because the small skin growths are very contagious.

Cause gout

If your toes are sore all the time, and your shoes are not too tight, you haven't poked your toes, or any other trigger is apparent, gout could be the cause. Too much uric acid then collects in the joints.

Gout in the joint in the big toe is typical. The joint becomes inflamed and swollen, so additional pressure builds up on the inside of the shoe, which increases the pain.

Risk factors

You are at particular risk of sore toes if you have arthritis, are overweight and have so much weight on your toes, if you jump and run frequently, if you are very old or very young, or if you have to stand a lot.

Treatment of toe pain

If our shoes are too tight, we don't need a doctor, we need different shoes. It looks different when we are tormented by pain without knowing the trigger and without noticing any external damage.

A doctor can X-ray the foot to see if a toe is broken. In the event of a fracture, sprain, or bruise, the doctor bandages or casts the toe. The toe should remain still until the injury has healed.

You can always cool the sore toe yourself. This promotes healing and alleviates the discomfort.

If there is an infection, antibiotics can help to reduce the inflammation.

Warts can be iced up or burned, then you can peel them off with the epidermis. Such tinctures are also available without a doctor's prescription. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor beforehand in order to avoid risks.

In the case of gout, the specialist is in demand. For example, patients should follow a diet that reduces uric acid and also take appropriate medication. Early gout can be treated well.

Prevention of pain on the toes

Most problems can be avoided with good shoes. If the shoes do not pinch, have a comfortable sole and the toes can move, we prevent pain in this area. You can check out new shoes by testing that all toes move up, down, and sideways. If this is the case, you will probably not experience any complaints even after long hikes.

For sports that put a lot of strain on the toes such as jogging, sprinting, foot or handball, but also for outdoor trekking, there are special shoes with an ideal fit, air cushions in the soles and extra lining. You should not do the respective sport without such special jogging, running or hiking shoes. Or the other way around: If you hike through the Scottish Highlands and put on pointy pumps, you are sure to scrape your toes - if you dance through the night in high heels, you can be happy when "only" your toes hurt.

A good shoe not only leaves enough space for the heel and toes, it also absorbs strong impacts and is gentle on the toe joints.

Toe pain from ingrown nail

Usually the nail of the big toe grows in. The nail presses into the sensitive nail bed, which then becomes inflamed. We often cause this ourselves when we wear tight shoes for a long time in which the nails cannot grow normally or cut the nails incorrectly.

The infection often gets worse because the damaged tissue opens the door to bacteria. Wild meat also proliferates as the wound heals.

Additional problems arise when patients cut the ingrown nail even shorter. To avoid pain, they ensure that the edge of the nail is pushed further and further into the tissue.

Self-treatment is of little use here. Typically, a doctor needs to have surgery to remove the ingrown nail. The anesthetic injection hurts because the doctor usually injects it into the sensitive skin between the big toe and the neighboring toe, but the newly formed nail is likely to grow back normally.

In any case, after such an operation, patients should wear sandals without stockings so that there is no pressure on the tissue. If the toe is inflamed, antibiotics are also required to kill the bacteria responsible.

Prevent toenail ingrowth

You can prevent ingrown toenails by trimming your toenails regularly. The nails grow in because they are too long. The ingrown nails become inflamed and cause severe pain.

Often times, the toenails are cut incorrectly. Wrong means that too much is being cut down at the edges. This makes the nails grow in easily.

Tight shoes press the skin against the nail, so the nail can grow in quickly. Heavy sweaty feet also encourage ingrowth because it softens the skin around the nail. So make sure you have comfortable shoes and ventilate your feet regularly. Even more important than washing your feet is going barefoot or in sandals more often.

You should pay particular attention to such measures if you are anatomically prone to ingrown toenails. This always happens when you have a wider than average nail bed.

Diagnosis and conservative therapy

Diagnosis is easy because people almost always know that an ingrown nail is causing the pain.

As part of the treatment, the affected nail should first be "taped". To do this, place a padded plaster between the nail and the nail bed to give the toe more air between the skin and the nail. The pain goes away immediately because the pressure eases.

A foot bath softens the skin, making it easier to apply ointments and plasters afterwards. Very hot foot baths also promote blood circulation and soften the skin for ointments such as fucidine ointment.

Nail correction braces give growth shape when the nail is too round on the sides. Such clasps are made of plastic or wire. The patient uses it for six months or more and pulls the ingrown nail out of the nail bed with it. Without surgery, the nail grows again. The disadvantage of this method is that the process takes a long time.

Ingrown toenail surgery

It is more painful, but shorter, with an operation. After the local anesthetic, the doctor removes the ingrown nail corners and wild flesh. Then he puts a bandage around your toe. The patient needs regular follow-up visits to see if the nail is growing normally and the inflammation goes away.

After the operation, the tissue is very sensitive at first. Those affected should avoid any pressure on the area and change the bandage every three days.

For later treatment, surgery is almost always the first choice. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
  • Awale, A.a; Hagedorn, T.J .; Dufour, A.B .; Menz, H.B., Casey, V.A .; Hannan, M.T .: Foot Function, Foot Pain, and Falls in Older Adults: The Framingham Foot Study .; in Gerontology 2017; 63 (4), pages 318-324, (accessed on 09.09.2019), karger.com
  • Apostolos Kontzias: Arthrose, MSD Manual, (accessed 09.09.2019), MSD
  • Deutsche Gicht-Liga e.V .: Information on the disease (accessed: 09.09.2019), gichtliga.de

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.