Can We Do Something About Second Toe Pain?

You might think that stubble on the big toe is what you need to worry about, but second toe injuries and subsequent pain is a very common complaint amongst runners and other athletes. There are various reasons for this issue and related treatment options.

Thus, proper diagnosis and concluding a root cause are essential. Let’s have a look at the most common causes.

Second Toe Pain – Causes

Arthritis of the Second Toe

Your middle toe can suffer from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. This condition causes pain in the base of the second toe with swelling in that particular area, especially when running or walking.

Constant inflammation leads to hammertoe deformity – misalignment of MTP joint giving the toe claw like appearance.

Plantar Plate Injury

Anatomically, there is a capsule underneath the MTP joint, and the plantar plate is thickening that area. Its job is providing support to the joint. The second toe, being the longest, usually suffers from impact, causing pain and discomfort.

When the doctor tries pushing the toe, it causes pain while it goes in flexion and extension; this can serve as an indicator for MRI or CT scan consult for plate’s tear detection.

Freiberg’s Disease – Rare Cause of Second Toe Pain

In this rare condition, the head of the toe suffers from injury. This issue is more common in teenage girls rather than adults but is seen in them as well. Trauma, excess sport, high heels all serve as triggering factors.

The end of metatarsal bones becomes painful and swollen in the initial stage. Next, the bones start breaking down into small pieces, and then gradually, the tarsal head flattens because of arthritis. It is essential to detect this disorder in its early stage for its treatment before the bones begin collapsing.

Second Toe Stress Fracture

It is somewhat similar to Freiberg’s disease. The stress causes bone fatigue, swelling, and consequent breakdown. The difference is that the stress fracture hits the shaft and not the head of the toe. Usually, pain in the second toe is the only observable symptom.

Morton’s neuroma

In this condition, the nerve of the front foot and toes thickens. Generally, you will observe symptoms such as burning pain in the foot base spreading towards the toes. Numbness, tingling, or needle like feeling may also occur.

These symptoms may worsen with running, walking, or bad fitting shoes. Tests like CT scans and MRIs can detect the thickening.


If your second toe is in pain without any noticeable impact or an accident, a disease might be the cause. Get in touch with a rheumatologist at Rheumatology Care North Houston; call 832 532 9779 for an appointment today!

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