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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

toe pain

I have a swollen itchy painful baby toe. What might be the cause of it?
  • Complaint duration: 3 days
  • Medications: None
  • Conditions: None

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Featured Answer

1 UpVoted this answer
There are a number of things this could be. The fact that it is only one toe, and assuming it is one foot, it is most likely a fungal or Athlete's foot infection. There is also a possibility it could be dermatitis or an allergic skin reaction. The toe could be swollen from a number of things, but usually when something itches like that, and especially if there is a rash or moisture between the toes, a fungal infection is most likely.
Richard Eby
If its a skin issue you can have a case of athletes foot. If it feels deeper then possible nerve issue. Either way you should seek a professional podiatrist for help with this problem in your area
Alex Kheynson
A swollen, itchy, painful toe is most likely caused by a fungus infection (ie. Athletes foot). It is always best to have your podiatrist check this out. A topical antifungal will work the best.
Seth Steber
Thank you so much!
This may be from a rash such as Athlete's foot (fungal infection of the skin), a contact allergy (possibly from leather dyes or adhesives in one or more pairs of shoes, or rarely a bacterial infection of the skin. If the toe is becoming progressively more red and swollen, then a more serious infection may be present and you should get immediate medical attention. If over-the-counter hydrocortisone or antifungal medication is not helping, then get an examination from a board-certified podiatrist.
Most likely fungus.

Clear out your shoes.

Wash your feet.

Use dilute betadine.

Should resolve in 3 days. If still there, see a doctor.
The itchy part can be from the swelling irritating the nerves or a reaction to a fungal infection. If you do not remember banging it, start with baby powder between the toes, keep your shoes and socks off as much as possible, and soak in warm water for 30-60 minutes with 1 tablespoon of salt each evening and see if all that helps. Dr Rich Blake
Richard Blake
A picture would help in this case. If you have skin changes in between the toes you may have a fungal infection(athlete's foot) of the area. As the toe swells it can be getting more pressure in shoes causing pain. If there is deformity of the toe it may need to ultimately be addressed as well.
Joseph Bava