If you have an itchy big toe or two, you are not alone. Surprisingly, this is quite a common problem. Your big toe itch could be caused by a wide variety of things. In this article, we will explore some possible causes and suggest some simple treatments for big toe itch.
You will also learn:
- What does it mean when your big toe itches?
- Why is your big toe swollen and itchy?
- What causes your toes to itch?
Read on to learn more.
Pinpoint the location of the itch
Identifying the exact location of your itch can help determine its cause. Here are some of the most common places a great toe might itch:
- Between the great toe and the second toe
- On the padded underside
- On either or both sides
- Around the toenail
- At the crease
- The entire toe
Various problems may cause these differently placed itches. Once you’ve determined exactly where the itch is, examine the toe visually. Do you see anything unusual such as:
- Misshapen and/or discolored nail
- Hard and/or flaking skin
These can give you a clue as to the cause of your itch.
Maybe you just have dry skin
Dry skin is itchy skin and many people neglect the skin on their feet and allow it to become hard and dry. You can treat dry, flaky skin on your feet by removing it with a pumice stone, soaking your feet and applying coconut oil or olive oil to your feet before going to bed at night. Be sure to wear some old socks to protect your bedding.
Remember to wash your feet thoroughly when you bathe or shower. Scrub with a washcloth or brush. Moisturise after your bath with oil or lotion.
Fungus is an offender
A fungal infection of the toenail will result in discolouration and possible deformity of the nail. Fungal infection of the skin may be inflamed. Both conditions can be itchy and painful.
You should know that if you have a problem with your toenails or the skin on your feet, it is very likely to be caused by fungus. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot and toenail fungus is basically ringworm.
It is ever-present in the skin and easy to pick up in locker rooms or other damp areas where you might go barefoot. Additionally, if you have a systemic yeast overgrowth, this will stimulate the growth of fungus.
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Cure toenail fungus with hydrogen peroxide
A daily 15-20 minute soak followed up by thorough rinsing, drying and application of a natural antifungal moisturiser such as olive oil or coconut oil can help greatly with this problem. After soaking, drying and moisturizing, directly treat the itchy spot with antifungal cream.
If you don’t like to use commercial antifungal preparations, you can try using straight tea tree oil. This can be quite effective, but it may take longer to see results.
If you do not see marked improvement within a couple of weeks, see your doctor.
Overnight treatment can help
You may also wish to directly treat toenail fungus and/or athlete’s foot with a paste made by blending a clove of fresh garlic and a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil.
To do this, you would combine the ingredients in a blender or small electric coffee grinder reserved for that purpose. Chop up the garlic first and then blend in the oil a few drops at a time until you have a thick paste.
Apply the paste directly to itchy spots and under the toenails at night before you go to bed. You can apply coconut or olive oil all over your feet first for moisturizing if you want. Wear a pair of thick cotton or wool socks to protect your bedding and help the mixture soak in.
Don’t use plastic!
You may see some articles and videos that suggest wrapping your feet in plastic after applying a garlic and oil mixture or a moisturising oil. This is a bad idea. The plastic will hold heat and moisture in and keep oxygen out. This sets up perfect conditions for fungal growth.
To prevent and combat fungal infection, you should keep your feet clean and dry and allow good air circulation at all times. In the morning, clean and dry your feet and apply antifungal cream.
If your itch seems just to be skin deep and is not caused by fungus, you may be allergic to a product you have been using. This could be anything from a personal care product to your laundry detergent or other cleaning product.
Examine the products you use and replace them with natural and/or hypoallergenic version one by one until you uncover the one that is causing you problems. Your doctor or allergist may be able to provide you with some good advice to help you target the right products.
An allergic reaction usually manifests as a pimply or inflamed rash.
A blister or injury may itch
If you have gotten a blister, bruise or other injury without realizing it, you may feel itching when it begins to heal. If you find a blister or other injury, check it carefully for signs of infection.
Take care to keep it clean, covered and protected until it heals. Be sure to wear clean socks and shoes that give your toes plenty of wiggle room to avoid problems with blisters and injuries in the future.
Do you have a more serious condition?
If you find that your itching is caused by a blister or injury that you were not aware of, the real problem may be diabetes. People with diabetes often have problems with their feet. Blood sugar fluctuations and problems with circulation can cause tingling, itchiness, numbness and necrosis.
If you are diabetic, don’t take chances with injuries because infection could easily set in and cause necrosis, which could lead to loss of the toe or even your foot or lower leg. See your doctor right away if you have injured your foot.
It is always a good idea to examine your feet every day and give them a little TLC. If you know that you have diabetes, this is even more true. You may injure your feet without knowing it, so frequent visual inspection is very important.
Joint problems can cause itching
If you have arthritis or gout, one symptom may be itchy big toes. Gout pain especially manifests in the big toe in the form of pain, itching and peeling skin.
Gout and arthritis are chronic problems. You cannot cure a chronic condition, but you can improve your lifestyle habits to minimize your symptoms. Be sure to stay well hydrated and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and red meat.
Avoiding itchy big toes
The guidelines for good foot care are fairly universal and we’ve mentioned them many times on this blog before.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear clean socks and change them at least once a day.
- Wear properly fitted, comfortable shoes that provide good air circulation.
- Keep your toenails properly trimmed.
- Moisturise the skin of your feet appropriately.
- Eat a balanced, wholesome diet.
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water.
If you follow this advice, you should not have many (or any) problems with your feet. If you have followed the advice presented here, but your big toe continues to itch, be sure to see your doctor. It could be a symptom of a more serious problem.
Disclaimer: Pedi Reviews does not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.