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Pain on Top of Foot Near Toes

Why do I have pain on the top of my foot near the toes?

Answering this question might be harder than you might think. The reason is that there are many issues that can cause foot pain. 

One medical survey reports that 77% of Americans claimed they had foot pain in the past year. Physical therapists can help you learn the source of your pain, and there are three issues that could be revealed as the cause of pain on the top of your foot near the toes. 

These three issues can cause pain on the top of the foot near the toes

Physical therapists can perform a multistep assessment to determine the cause of your foot pain. They’ll ask you questions about activities you do regularly, and the assessment may also involve several movement tests. Such tests are designed to help narrow down the painful part of the foot. 

There are many conditions that your assessment might reveal as the cause of pain on the top of the foot near the toes. Three of the most common of these issues are: 

  1. Extensor tendinitis — Extensor tendons are found in many parts of the body, including the hands and feet. In the foot, these tendons run along the top of the foot just below the skin. Their job is to lift the toes away from the ground. Tight shoes, repetitive motions and trauma can all cause extensor tendinitis. This condition can cause swelling and bruising in addition to pain on the top of your foot. 
  1. Stress fracturesMetatarsal stress fractures are estimated to be the cause of up to 16% of athletic injuries. The most common cause of this issue is running. People who increase the frequency or distance of their runs too quickly are at higher risk of this issue. Pain in a specific area of the foot is the most common symptom of stress fractures. The pain often gets better with rest. Swelling can also occur near the site of the fracture. 
  1. Bone spurs — Research shows that the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint is the most common site of foot osteoarthritis. The MTP joint is found at the base of the big toe. Bone spurs are also more likely to occur in this joint due to osteoarthritis. An MTP joint bone spur causes pain when you’re moving. The pain is typically worse when you push on the toes when walking or running. Other symptoms can include swelling, stiffness and a bump developing on the top of the toe. 

Need help finding the cause of pain on the top of your foot near the toes? SOL Physical Therapy can help

You don’t have to look far to get help finding the cause of pain on the top of your foot near the toes. Our SOL Physical Therapy team is primed to help you. We offer complimentary screenings that can reveal the cause of your foot pain. Our team also excels at creating individualized therapy plans designed to reduce foot pain. 

Don’t want to increase your risk of developing COVID-19? Our team understands completely. That’s why we’re currently offering virtual care and at-home therapy sessions. These services allow you to receive therapy without even leaving home, and like all our services, you can use them without a doctor’s referral. 

Contact our team today for more information about foot pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment. 

About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.

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