Torn Tendon In Big Toe Symptoms: Causes And How To Treat It?

The tendon of big toe can tear due to an injury to the toe. Excessive upward bending of toe can put strain on the ligaments and tendons attached to it. It is also called as turf toe. This may cause microscopic tears giving rise to pain, swelling and discomfort while walking.

Tendon injury to big toe can also develop when your toe is stubbed while walking or playing sports. Invariably the tendon of great toe is damaged if there is fracture of big toe. Most cases of tendon tear in big toe can be treated conservatively with rest, ice fomentation, elevation and compression.

For complete tear, surgical repair may be needed.

How Does Tendon In Big Toe Gets Torn?

The big toe of your foot bears enormous weight and pressure whenever you walk, run, jump or dance. Since your foot is involved in almost all activities that need to be done in standing posture, it is vulnerable to injuries.

Toe injury is common. It can occur at any age but more often a tendon tear in big toe occurs in athletics, football players, where the toe may get extended beyond it normal limit. Hyper-extension can stretch the tendon that lie and is attached underneath the big toe.

It may tear if severely stretched.

Stubbing your toe while walking or running can also cause minor or severe tear in the tendon of big toe. A direct blow or fracture of big toe can also damage and tear the big toe tendon.

Symptoms Of Torn Tendon In Big Toe

The symptoms of tendon tear in big toe can be sudden or gradual depending on the extent and severity of injury. For example the symptoms are sudden in onset if it has occurred due to fracture of big toe. However, it the symptoms can gradually develop if the cause is repetitive stress.

  • Pain is the first and foremost symptom of tendon tear in big toe. Patient experience pain at the ball of toe. The joint where the end of toe and metatarsal bone meet. Pain under the foot and toe. It is aggravated when you stand or walk, due to weight of your body. Pain may radiate to other area of foot.
  • Swelling soon develops after injury. The big toe and the area of metatarsal bone is swollen. Swelling is mild or severe depending of the severity of damage to the tendon.
  • Reduced joint mobility: Due to pain and swelling the range of motion of big toe is restricted. It is difficult to bend or extend the toe. Patient experiences difficulty in standing.
  • Difficult walking: Due to pain, swelling and limited range of motion, patient finds difficulty in walking. Each step is painful.

Usually at time of severe tear a pop can be felt.

Treatment For Torn Tendon In Big Toe

The basic treatment of big toe tendon tear is conservative. In most cases rest, compression, ice fomentation, and elevation of foot help the tendon tear to recover. The injury needs time to heal. This means you have to give rest to the toe joint. Prevent it from further injury.

Over the counter anti inflammatory medicines for few days will help to reduce pain and inflammation. In case of severe tendon tear patient may have to wear walking boot or the big toe needs to be put in a cast that will keep the big toe in one position.

After few days when the pain and swelling subsides, physical therapy has to be started. Physiotherapist will teach the patient particular exercise which will help to strengthen the big toe and increase the movement of joint. Rarely surgical repair is necessary especially if the tendon is completely torn.