Little Toe Pain Causes and Treatment Options

Video: Pinky Toe Pain Cures

If you suffer from pain in your little toe, you know how debilitating it can be. Often referred to as the pinkie toe, fifth toe or baby toe, pain in this toe can throw off your whole body.

little toe pain

Pinkie toe pain is very common since shoes tend to curve into the littlest toe. In fact, the fifth toe tends to have more problems than any other toe. The good news is these problems are usually easy to treat and surgery is rarely necessary.

What Causes Pain in the Pinky Toe?

Common causes include hammertoes, corns, bone spurs, fractures and even sprains. You might be surprised to learn that even toenail problems can lead to little toe pain when shoes press on them.

  • Hammertoe is a toe with a joint permanently buckled downward. It can be flexible or stiff and can occur on any toe when abnormalities in the function of the foot cause ligaments and tendons to tighten. This tightening causes the toe joints to bend, cocking the toe upward.
  • Corns (hard) are a tiny patch of thickened skin on the surface of the toe or in between toes. Although it may not look like much, corns can cause tremendous pain. They are like having a rock in your shoe that never goes away.
  • Corns (soft).  Soft corns are a corn between the toes. Because the area is in the moist area between the toes the skin becomes wet and kind of gunky. Sometimes it looks
    soft corn

    Soft corn

    like athelete’s foot between the toes but in reality it is a corn.  Treatment involves carefully removing the corn and then reducing pressure between the toes. Rarely, surgery is necessary but should be considered only as a last resort.

  • Bone spurs are enlargements of the bone due to excess tension or pressure on the foot. Reducing this pressure or tension usually corrects the problem and surgery is rarely required.
  • Fractures and sprains of the toe can cause pain and discomfort. If you’ve ever stubbed your toe and been told that nothing can be done, that’s terrible advice. In fact, all toe sprains and fractures can and should be evaluated and treated to prevent long-term pain and swelling.

Home Treatment for Baby Toe Pain

For hammertoe, corns and other baby toe pain, try these home treatment tips:

  • Keep toes alignedUse a hammertoes-corns-self-treatment-crest-pad Leather Crest Pad to keep your toes straightened. The leather pads are a bit firmer than silicone versions, but both work well to relieve toe pain caused by corns and calluses. These pads act to keep the toes straight while you wear them.
  • Protect skinFor corns on the top of the toes, try a soft Silopad Digital Pad that releases a high-grade mineral oil onto the hsilipos digital padard skin. This will decrease corns and callus by reducing force on the area.
  • Reduce pressure and frictionFor corns between the toes, a Gel Toe Separator can relieve overlapping toes and pressure. A Little Toe Buddy can be used to keep the 4th and 5th toes from rubbing against each other.
  • Wear shoes with wider toe boxes. If the toe box of the shoe is wider it will place less pressure on the little toe. One keen
    good example of a line of shoes that have wider than average toe boxes is Keen.  In fact, we recommend Keen shoes for many patients with pain in their 5th toes.

For additional tips, see the entire home remedies for hammertoes and cornsincluding baby toe pain. If you don’t have success after trying home treatments for four weeks, visit a podiatrist. And for bone spurs or a suspected sprain or fracture of the baby toe, see a podiatrist right away.

Non-surgrical Treatment for Little Toe Pain

If the home treatments are not successful, we can almost always eliminate baby toe pain in a conservative manner. Surgery is almost never necessary and should be considered only as a last resort. If you are coming to see us be sure to bring a selection of the shoes you wear most commonly.

Surgery for Pinky Toes

There are a few little toe conditions that may require surgery.  For example, surgery can be performed to straighten a curved or contracted toe but, again, surgery should only be considered as a last resort. In fact, if you have had surgery recommended to you, see us for a second opinion before having little toe surgery. In a vast majority of cases we can relieve your pain in a non-surgical manner. If all conservative treatment fails then surgery may be an option and we will review all of the advantages and disadvantages of surgery with you so you can make an informed decision.

If you are experiencing soreness, pain or other discomfort in your littlest toe, contact us today for an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Washington. We are conveniently located near downtown Seattle by Swedish Medical Center and our office is easily accessible from anywhere in the greater Seattle area. Call (206) 344-3808 to schedule an appointment or click here to schedule online.

 

Dr. Larry Huppin
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Dr. Larry Huppin

Podiatrist specializing in biomechanics at Foot & Ankle Center of Washington
Lawrence Z.Huppin, DPM is an internationally recognized lecturer and teacher on orthotic therapy and biomechanics.In his Seattle private practice his focus in on treatment of mechanical problems such as heel pain, bunions, ball of foot pain, athletic injuries and children’s foot conditions.In addition he specializes in toenail problems including ingrown and fungal toenail conditions. He is always focused on helping patients avoid surgery if at all possible and keeping your medical costs as low as possible.
Dr. Larry Huppin
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