Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

2nd Toe - Major pain-swelling but no break

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 12 Replies
  • Posted By: chgo36
  • March 8, 2009
  • 05:29 PM

Looking for some help....I recently was on vacation in Hawaii and one evening my 2nd toe (next to big toe) had swelling, discoloration and throbbing pain. I had went snorkeling that day but I never stepped on anything nor do I think I was stung by anything while in the water or on land. For the next week, it had become slightly worse so I took ibuprophen and was icing it at regualr intervals to help with the pain and swelling. At that time I thought I may have broken the toe since I had hurt the same toes about 4 years prior and it was slightly larger than the same toe on other foot and tender if I bumped it. Upon return home, I went to an orthopedic doctor who took several xrays but there were no broken bones or fractures. Everything looked normal. He was stumped but felt since there was some inflammation and was warm to the touch, he began treating it as an infection and I have been taking 500mg of Keflex 4 times per day and have seen very little improvement. It is very painful and can throb very severely at times especially when I am on my feet and have had a shoe on. It is restricted to only the toe and the area right above the toe on the top of the foot which is slightly swollen.
Looking for any ideas....could the infection be in the bone? I am going to call the doc tomorrow and I think he is going to do an MRI?

Any info is appreciated

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12 Replies:

  • I just returned from Maui and experienced the same thing as you; second toe swollen and very painful. No breaks or fractures and I don’t remember stepping on anything or bumping into anything while snorkeling. I had to make two trips to the emergency room in as many days where they lanced and drained my toe on both occasions (fun in Maui!). They also put me on 500mg of keflex four times a day along with a sulfa-based drug twice a day. It’s been about two weeks and it seems to be getting better but is still a little swollen and sore. Did you ever get a diagnosis? I hope you’re doing better. As we both know, it’s no fun. I felt like an idiot showing up in the ER with a sore toe but that sucker hurt and was definitely infected.
    ral396 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Yeah it does sound like a infected bone. Hope you had a good holiday despite this! I have recently developed the same sounding thing as you but I have had special drugs from the doctor and they have helped a lot. I did end up on cruches as the pain was so bad! Hope this helps
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Could it be Gout? A friend of mine has that and his toe flares up from even having contact with shell fish (washing clams off, etc.).
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • This exact same thing happened to me, only in two toes instead of one. I thought I had broken them except that I couldn't remember any accidents. After about about four days, I was barely able to walk so I took my knife and started probing in the most sensetive areas. Deep in the toe I found two pockets of infection. After getting all of the puss out of both toes, I cleaned them with hydrogen peroxide and within a few days, the pain had gone away and they had begun to heal nicely. I still don't know what caused the infection, but, this came shortely after a spearfishing trip off the coast of Senegal.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 21, 2010
    • 02:42 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I guess I have the same thing...took a walk on Myrtle Beach this past July and when I got back the second toe on my right foot was extremely sore and swollen at the end joint. Never went to doctor. It still gives me problems and now the second toe on the left foot is beginning to have similar symptoms. What is up with this...in very good health, but do take meds for blood pressure.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 6, 2010
    • 01:15 AM
    • 0
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  • Let me know if anyone has found anything, my 2nd toe on my right foot has had the same symptoms since I got home from my trip to Padre a year ago. I thought it would go down but it's still there and I'm trying to avoid paying for a toe MRI :-/
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well, I haven't been on any trips but my second toe is doing the same thing. No accidents or bites or nail problems but the joint really hurts and it has been swollen more then the other toes and especially hurts with shoes with a heal. No ideas what the cause but its been a few weeks now and I don't want to go the doc because it seems silly. I checked it out here and here are all of you with sore toes. ah well
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am a Doctor of Pharmacy, and have had a number of patients with the same symptoms that you have listed. Gout is the most obvious diagnosis, though it most usually occurs in the great (largest) toe. It is accompanied by inflammation, extreme tenderness, redness and warm to the touch. Gout is easily treated with medication, either during flare-ups, or with prophylactic treatment to avoid flare-ups. Ask your doctor about allopurinol or colchicine for the treatment of your condition. The onset of gout is not necessarily after an accident or injury to the affected area, but the condition is usually life-long.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am having the same issue. It's my middle toe on my left foot. I woke up in the middle of the night with this horrible pain in my toe. It's slightly red and slightly swollen. I did not injure it in any way. It is extremely painful to bend my toe and hurts to the touch. It feels very bruised, but there is nothing purple or blue on or around it. I too am tempted to go to the doctor, but I feel like it is kind of rediculous to go for that. I have been having a lot of pain in my joints lately, but nothing so isolated and direct. I don't know what it can be. Unlike most people's posts on here, I have not taken any trips recently. Confused
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Just wanted to add a finding I read about:-----------------------------------------------------------------------Gout usually develops after a number of years of buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints and surrounding tissues. Symptoms include: Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually a big toe joint . This symptom is called podagra. Symptoms sometimes start in a different joint, such as the ankle or knee.Pain that starts during the night and is so intense that even light pressure from a sheet is intolerable.Rapid increase in discomfort, lasting for some hours of the night and then easing during the next few days.As the gout attack subsides, the skin around the affected joint may peel and feel itchy.Other symptoms may include:Very red or purplish skin around the affected joint, which may appear to be infected.Limited movement in the affected joint.Symptoms of gout vary.Symptoms may occur after an illness or surgery.Some people may not experience gout as many painful attacks but rather develop chronic gout. Chronic gout in older adults may be less painful and can be confused with other forms of arthritis. Gout may first appear as nodules (tophi) on the hands, elbows, or ears. There may be no classic symptoms of a gout attack.By the time you have the symptoms of a gout attack, uric acid has been building up in your blood, and uric acid deposits have been forming on one or more of your joints. The big toe joint is most commonly affected. But the joints of the feet, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows may also be involved. Inflammation of the fluid sacs (bursae) that cushion tissues may occur, particularly in the elbow (olecranon bursitis) and knee (prepatellar bursitis).There are many other conditions with symptoms similar to gout.http://arthritis.webmd.com/tc/gout-symptoms
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am now on the same thread as you all except I didn't go snorkeling I was actually in our pool for the first time this summer (a few days ago) woke up the next morning and my second toe is really swollen (I cant even wear a sock on that foot nor a flip-flops) its horrible pain. Keeping my foot elevated seems to work but I cant be like that 24-7 any Idea what this could be?
    suil956 1 Replies Flag this Response
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  • HI,I was browsing for something else when I saw this, and I don't want to alarm anybody, but my brother had similiar symptoms and it was very serious.From what I've read on this thread, most sound like an infection or maybe a bite or sting from some marine critter.My brother had a painful swelling on his second toe, andit turned out to be a rare form of melanoma. I want to stress RARE. But it's worth checking, right? better safe than sorry. Be well.
    joolyo 1 Replies Flag this Response
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