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Why are my big toes hurting after I walk more than 5 minutes?

I'm a 32 year old student, and my big toes have been hurting on and off for a few years. At first I thought it was due to my exercise routines (running), but my toes haven't improved since I quit running. I've been taking ibuprofen and wearing sneakers to ease the pain.
To begin, here are some questions that might help elucidate the underlying cause of this toe pain you are experiencing. Do you notice that the toes hurt when you are walking or putting pressure on them, or at all times? Have you noticed any swelling, redness or pain with movement of the toes? Have you noticed any decreased movement in the toes? These questions, along with your medical history and clinical exam will help your primary care doctor come up with the appropriate work up for these symptoms you are experiencing. They may decide to send off some lab tests or imaging studies, and depending on what they find, they may send you to a specialist for further work up. There are a lot of possibilities as to why you are having this pain, and this is beyond the scope of this discussion. Some things to help treat the symptoms you are having include using heating or cooling packs on your toes when the hurt, taking pain medications and NSAIDs to decrease the inflammation, or resting and taking pressure off of your feet to avoid the continous trauma from walking. Of course, these are only short term treatment options, and it is best to discuss all the possible treatment options with your PCP.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.
Who answers these questions?
Answers are written by doctors from top institutions:
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Mass General Hospital
  • Beth Israel Medical Center
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