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Sudden Toe Pain
Old 10-04-2008, 05:10 PM   #1
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Sudden Toe Pain

DW has this thing where all of a sudden she'll have this really strong pain right where the big toe attaches. Sometimes it goes away in a minute or two, sometimes it lasts 30 minutes. She has to hobble around when it happens.

It's as if something gets out of whack, and then moves back into position.

Anybody have or heard of this? Worth checking out?
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:21 PM   #2
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Could it be gout ?
Gout Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, Signs, Diagnosis and Prevention on eMedicineHealth.com
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
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Sounds like a pulled muscle, similar (but not necessarily the same as) plantar fascitis:
Plantar fasciitis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I managed to pull that exact same big-toe muscle at taekwondo, which made jumping rope an extraordinarily painful experience. The immediate problem goes away with massage & ibuprofen (or at least gets less painful), and it was eventually cured with two months of reduced exertion.
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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Big toe tendinitis ?
Gout ?
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:45 PM   #5
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Gout can come on quickly, but rarely goes away in minutes.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:22 PM   #6
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Good tips, but none of those seem to match very well. It comes on in an instant, and usually goes away after a minute or two. It's been going on for six months or so.
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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I get funny little cramps in my toes in either joint every once in a while. I walk around for a minute or two saying "ooh! ahh!" and it goes away. Sometimes flexing them makes it go away quicker.

Might be low potassium. Might be dampness
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
I get funny little cramps in my toes in either joint every once in a while. I walk around for a minute or two saying "ooh! ahh!" and it goes away. Sometimes flexing them makes it go away quicker.

Might be low potassium. Might be dampness
Sometimes muscle cramps can be caused by magnesium deficiency.
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:57 PM   #9
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Bananas. One or two a day expect to see it go away in about a week. May work!
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Anybody have or heard of this? Worth checking out?
Hey Al,

I have not heard of this and think it is worth checking out. Chances are it's nothing serious but it's sure worth asking your Doc about. I had a similar weird pain in my ankle bone area that came and went and when it came, I limped around like your DW. My Doc said to get better fitting and properly supportive shoes. Too much tromping around in cheap flip flops for my ol' footsies. Problem solved
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:39 PM   #11
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Too much tromping around in cheap flip flops for my ol' footsies. Problem solved
We hear that a lot around here...
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:05 PM   #12
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I have had gout twice, doesn't sound like gout (although I'm not a doctor). Take a look at the shoes she wears and the lifestyle. Are the shoes tight in a particular area around the toe? Does she walk long distances? Does the pain occur on the night after she wears a certain shoe?

I'd document the pain and look for patterns.

Good luck.

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Old 10-06-2008, 07:27 PM   #13
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Thanks for the ideas. No, all her shoes are good and fit well, she runs and rides her bike, but there's no clear link with the pain. She already eats 1-2 bananas a day, and takes multivitamins.

I can't imagine that the doctor will be able to see anything, and, with my experience with our doc, I think that if you guys or my Internet research doesn't show up anything, that he won't find something.

Personally, I'd chalk it up to growing pains. Growing old pains, that is. We'll see what happens.
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
DW has this thing where all of a sudden she'll have this really strong pain right where the big toe attaches. Sometimes it goes away in a minute or two, sometimes it lasts 30 minutes. She has to hobble around when it happens.

It's as if something gets out of whack, and then moves back into position.

Anybody have or heard of this? Worth checking out?
I'm not sure what you mean when you state "where the big toe attaches" -- on the top of the foot or on the bottom?

If it's on the bottom, here's a potential issue I found by Googling:

Quote:
Soreness Under the Ball of the Big Toe
(Bruised or broken sesamoids) Description:
Tiny bones called sesamoids are located under the ball of your big toe (where the toe connects to your foot). These bones sometimes bruise -- it's a hassle, but it's also a warning system; they start aching before you damage the bones of your big toe. To see if you've bruised these little guys, press hard on the head of your big toe with your thumb. If you're howling in pain, that pretty much confirms that you've bruised, maybe even broken, your sesamoids.
Likely Causes:
Increased mileage, maybe new hillwork or speedwork. Whatever the cause, you are running too much on the balls of your feet. Also, it is possible that your running surface is responsible -- too much hard pavement. A final possibility is that you are doing nothing wrong at all, but you may have been betrayed by your own bone structure (i.e. you have bony feet without much fat padding).
Remedy:
Ice your foot, putting it on ice for ten minutes, off for ten minutes, and repeat. Do this often, maybe four times per day. This, of course, only treats the symptoms. You also have to treat the root cause and stop pounding the balls of your feet into pulp. Reduce hillwork and speedwork, and also take a look at your stride. Your heel should hit the ground first, rolling through the middle of your foot and then springing off from your toes. You should not be landing on the balls of your feet.
The problem can further be avoided in the future by padding around the ball of your foot to take pressure off of it. Get a piece of felt or foam rubber (try using a Dr. Scholl's heel pad, for example). It should be 1/4" thick and about 2" square. Cut a shallow "U" out of the pad so that it fits snugly behind (not over) the ball of your foot. Behind, incidentally, means on the heel side, not the toe side. The pad should fit right behind the painful area. You'll know you've got it right when you try it out and walk around -- the pressure will be off the bone, and the pain will be far reduced. Tape the padding to your foot and wear it in your daytime shoes as well as your running shoes.
You should be able to hit the road immediately, and the pain will likely disappear in about two weeks. If it does not, you may need custom orthotics. See a podiatrist, preferably one who is also a runner.
If that's not it, try doing some more specific Google searches on her symptoms/condition.

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Old 10-06-2008, 10:27 PM   #15
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She could have a stress fracture--or do a search for hallux (you will get valgus, rigidus, limitus, etc.--I believe bunions are one form of hallux problems).

I have a similar situation with the area above that joint on my right foot. I think it is developing arthritis in my situation, but I get exactly that kind of sudden piercing pain out of nowhere that subsides in a minute or two. I take ibuprofen for it.

I think bananas (and quinine/tonic water) work for muscle cramps, but your wife's problem sounds like a bone issue to my nonmedical mind.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:48 PM   #16
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I have had the same problem on and off for 20 years. Its weird - severe pain where my big toe attaches to the bottom of either foot. It happens when I run more than 6 miles. It happens sometimes when I'm biking more than 20 miles. It happens sometimes when I'm hiking or walking more than a few miles. It usually happens when I'm exercising and compounds with increased mileage. It doesnt matter what shoes I'm wearing. This may be a coincidence - but it never happens if I drink plenty of water before exercising. Now my right big toe sometimes "locks up" with a little pain for a few minutes following a run - but now its the entire toe instead of just the bottom.
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