Swollen toe


A swollen toe is very uncomfortable for those affected and can have various causes. Decisive for the diagnosis is, for example, how acute the swelling occurred and what accompanying symptoms occur. Treatment largely depends on the cause. The swelling can last for days to weeks, depending on the cause.

Causes of a swollen toe

There are several causes of a single toe swelling.

  • Especially when the Big toe Affected can be a relatively common cause Attack of gout be. Gout is a common disease in the affluent population. If the uric acid level is too high, deposits of Uric acid crystals in different Joints. This causes inflammation. The pain is very acute, the affected joint is crimson and swollen such as pressure painful. The most typical place for the deposition of uric acid crystals is the big toe. One then speaks of a podagra. However, the knee and ankle joints, the finger joints and the elbow joint can also be affected in rare cases.

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Athletes (joggers, soccer players, etc.) are particularly often affected by diseases of the foot. In some cases, the cause of the foot discomfort cannot be identified at first.
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  • Another possible cause of an isolated swollen toe is one injury (Trauma) when, for example, a heavy object falls on the toe. It is then a bruise and possibly a Cone fracture exist. The trauma leads to swelling, the toe is painful and partially restricted in movement.
    You might also be interested in: Broken toe

  • Also with the Psoriatic arthritis swelling of a single toe can occur. However, swelling of a single finger is more typical. Psoriatic arthritis is a joint disease that occurs as part of psoriasis. Those affected can have skin symptoms, but also joint problems. The skin and joint symptoms do not necessarily have to occur at the same time.

  • Other possible causes of swollen toes can be lymphedema due to lymph congestion or rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatism), but in both cases all toes are usually affected (symmetrical involvement).

Swollen toe from athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is a common disease. The fungus attacks the skin and toenails. With a simple athlete's foot occurs usually no swelling on. The symptoms are reddening of the affected areas with whitish-yellowish flaking, weeping areas and often marked itching.

Swollen toe from rheumatism

With the popularly called rheumatism The disease referred to is rheumatoid arthritis. This is a chronic joint disease. It is accompanied by swellings in various joints, which often appear in attacks. The affected joints are also typically very painful and mobility is often limited. Reddening of the affected joints can also occur.

The finger joints (metacarpophalangeal and median joints) and Toe joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, one typically occurs symmetrical swelling. So it's both hands or both feet affected. In rare cases, individual finger or toe joints swell.

You can read more about this here: rheumatism

Psoriatic arthritis is a skin disease (psoriasis) that is also associated with joint involvement. For example, a single finger or toe may be significantly swollen in this condition. The swelling is caused by inflammation of the affected joint. In people who are known to have psoriasis and who also notice occasional joint swelling, psoriatic arthitis may be the cause.

Accompanying symptoms of a swollen toe

The accompanying symptoms depend on the cause. At a Attack of gout the big toe is very swollen painful and strong reddened. In the case of swelling through a trauma it can arise too Restrictions on movement come, there is usually pain. Psoriatic arthritis also causes painful swelling.

Redness and swelling

For example, the redness associated with the swelling occurs in one Attack of gout on. The big toe is strong here reddened, clear warmed up and very painful. The redness and swelling are caused by the inflammation that is going on in the joint. Even with one Psoriatic arthritis the affected toe may become red.

Painless swelling

A swelling of the toe without pain comes mainly under one Lymphedema in front. In the case of lymphedema, the lymph fluid builds up because it can no longer drain off sufficiently. If lymphedema is present, however, almost always all toes are affected, not just one.

Painful swelling

The swelling of a toe goes with it in most cases Pain hand in hand. In the case of a gout attack, these appear relatively suddenly and are very strong. Even with trauma as the cause of the swelling, pain usually occurs.

Itching and swelling

itching on the toe occurs especially in diseases like the Athlete's foot on. Weeping, scaly reddening occurs, and the skin and nails can be affected. At a Fungal infection however, it usually occurs no swelling of the affected toe.


The type of treatment depends on the cause. In the acute situation, when a gout attack occurs, various medications can be considered. These include Painkiller, which also have an anti-inflammatory effect in appropriate doses, such as Ibuprofen.

In addition, the drug is often used Colchicine used. It prevents the inflammatory reaction from progressing. Colchicine must be dosed carefully and should not be taken over a long period of time, as it can otherwise be toxic. The drug is available in tablet or drop form. Colchicine should not be used by pregnant women.

Is a trauma The cause of the swelling so come primarily as therapeutic agents Cooling and protection of the toe in question. Here, too, pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help.

The Psoriatic arthritis is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Treatment is therefore usually with agents that downregulate the immune system. These include, for example, methotrexate or leflunomide.

Home remedies to treat swollen toes

Home remedies for a swollen toe are especially important Rules of conduct:

  • If there is pain, the toe should be spared every now and then elevated become.
  • Often helps Cool with a cool pack. A lukewarm to cool foot bath can also have a soothing effect.
  • The Footwear should not too tight It is better to avoid high heels for women at first.

How long does toe swelling last?

The duration of the swelling depends on the cause. In the gout the swelling lasts some days but the pain quickly subsides after starting drug therapy.
Swelling caused by inflammation under a Rheumatism disease appeared, take days to weeks on.
Is a trauma The swelling usually remains the cause of the swelling Days to weeks consist. It is not uncommon for a swelling caused by trauma to form, but not completely back. There will then be a difference in circumference between the affected toe and the other toes if no further treatment is given. Therefore, if the swelling persists or if the cause is still unclear, one should See a doctor.