Toe Pain

Once cartilage is damaged, it cannot heal itself. The progressive deterioration of the joint can lead to a loss of cartilage and exposed bone. Because toe pain sensors are located in bone and not in cartilage, it is the exposed bone that results in a painful joint.

toe pain

 What Can Cause the Damage?

Many things could be the cause of your toe pain, including but not limited to:

  • Injury
  • Trauma
  • Continued malalignment
  • Disease process (i.e. inflammation)
  • Footweartoe replacement

A small cartilage injury may become larger and lead to widespread cartilage loss or degenerative joint disease over time — eventually resulting in toe joint surgery. As the “wear and tear” on the toe (MTP) joint progresses, bone spurs (osteophytes) can form on top of the bones. These bone spurs are extremely painful and can limit the motion of the joint. With time, the spurs grow larger, the cartilage starts to wear away and the toe becomes stiff. In the big toe, this condition is called Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus.

A Hammertoe can be caused by the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Tightened ligaments or tendons in the foot.
  • Pressure from a bunion (when your big toe points inward toward your second toe)

When the muscles in your toe fall out of balance, a hammertoe can form. Muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe’s tendons and joint causing them to form the shape or a hammerhead. Hammertoe surgery is often required to fix the problem.


Bunions are most commonly the result of genetics. However, ill-fitting shoes also play a large part in the formation of bunions and the resulting toe joint pain.  Women are more prone to developing bunions due to tight, high-heeled shoes.

Ankle Pain

There are a few different reasons why you may have Ankle Pain including:

  • Diseases
  • Trauma
  • Arthritis

Diseases of the ankle consist mostly of defects or damage caused by trauma or arthritis and usually involves a singular or multiple traumatic events such as a sprained ankles. Initially, the defect may consist only of cartilage damage caused by shearing stresses and the bone will be intact. However, a bone bruise following a high-impact force such as a motor vehicle accident can also cause a defect. Ankle trauma associated with a defect often leads to cysts or fluid pockets which develop inside the bone.

toe surgeryThe defects can heal with no symptoms or could progress to deep ankle pain and/or the formation of bone cysts. The pain in the defects is most likely caused by an intermittent rise in fluid pressure inside the bone that occurs with each step. That in turn sensitizes the nerves in the underlying bone. A congruent joint surface, such as the ankle, is covered by thin articular cartilage. Fluid from the damaged cartilage can be forced into the fractured bone plate during activities or movement that puts significant weight on the ankle. This intermittent rise in high fluid pressure will cause damage to the bone and the eventual formation of a cyst.



  • Quick Facts

    • Over 75% of Americans will experience foot problems of varying degrees at one time or another in their lives.
    • Women have 4 times as many foot problems as men due to high heeled shoes
    • Ankle sprains account for 85% of all ankle injuries
    • Walking helps keep Arthritis at bay and helps people Stay Active