Tuesday, 02 July 2024 00:00

Symptoms and Causes of an Infected Toe

An infected toe often presents with redness, swelling, and pain, sometimes accompanied by pus or an unpleasant odor. Several factors can lead to this condition. Injuries, such as stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it, can create openings for bacteria. Microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, can infiltrate these wounds or even enter through small cracks in dry skin. Natural toe growth, particularly when nails grow inward, can push into the skin and cause infection. Foot yeast infections, commonly known as athlete's foot, can also escalate into bacterial infections if not treated promptly. Additionally, individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk due to poor circulation and impaired immune response, which can make even minor infections more severe. If your toe has become infected, it is suggested that you promptly visit a podiatrist who can offer you effective treatment solutions.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact Jim Maxka, DPM of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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