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Having throbbing pain, redness and swelling in toe. Feeling discomfort. What to do?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 362 Questions
I have trobbing pain in my big toe that has persisted for about six weeks, along with some swelling and redness. The pain is most concentrated on the underside of the joint. It has forced me to walk differently causing discomfort in other areas of my foot. The pain and swelling ebb and flow somedays being worse somedays being better, but it never goes away.
I have treated the pain with asprin, but not knowing what is wrong I don't know what else to do.
Posted Fri, 3 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 2 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

Pain in the toe at the site which you have mentioned is usually due to few reasons.
1. Arthritis of the toe joint. Most commonly due to Gout. It is like the cause in your case.
2. Other possibilitis are, infection, fracture of the bone (if there was any trauma).

It is likely to be due to Gout. It occurs usually due to accumulation of uric acid crystals in the toe joint.

Treatment usually involved use of NSAIDs. If its persistent, colchicine or steroids would be necesary.

Since you have been having the symptoms for last 6 weeks and its persisting, it is advisable that you get yourself checked by an orthopaedician. An X XXXXXXX of the foot and aspiration of the joint will be needed if there is significant swelling, to ascertain the cause.

Till then consider taking Diclofenac based analgesics which are more potent.

Hope this answers your query.

Please get back if you ned any further information.


Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having throbbing pain, redness and swelling in toe. Feeling discomfort. What to do? 1 hour later
If it is gout, could simply changing my diet solve the pain and swelling? If so what foods should I be avoiding and what foods should I be geeting more of?

Can diet end an attack or only prevent a future one?
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 1 hour later

Diet is modified with the aim of maintaining the uric acid levels in the normal range. It has no role in treating or ending an attack of gout.

Diet recommendations are as follows.

Limit meat, poultry and fish.
Cut back on fat.
Limit or avoid alcohol
Limit or avoid foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
Choose complex carbohydrates
Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water

Wish you a speedy recovery.

Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having throbbing pain, redness and swelling in toe. Feeling discomfort. What to do? 7 hours later
Is it common for a first time gout attack to last this long?

Is it unusual for someone my age (31) to have gout?
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 1 hour later
Dear friend,

Gout attacks can last long even if its a first attack.
Also, it is common in the adulthood, usually between 30 to 50 years.

However, it more depends on other risk factors than age such as, over weight, alcohol intake, excess redmeat and fish intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, high uric acid levels etc.

Hope this answers yours concern.

Warm regard,

Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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