Torn tendon in the big toe: What are the signs?

19 September 2017
Comments: 0
19 September 2017, Comments: 0

A torn tendon in the big toe might be due to turf toe where it is excessively bent upwards. The injury might also be the result of stubbing the big toe, spraining the toe or occur with a fracture.

If an individual has a torn tendon in the big toe, it can be quite painful and trigger several symptoms. A doctor must be consulted if the individual experiences continuous toe or foot pain.


Swelling of the big toe is likely to occur as well as along the metatarsal bone. The swelling might be minor or severe depending on the seriousness of the damage to the tendons.

The swelling can be managed by applying an ice pack on the site of the injury for 20 minutes at a time at 3-4 times throughout the day. Anti-inflammatory medications might be given by the doctor to lessen the swelling around the tendons.

Pain or discomfort


Swelling of the big toe is likely to occur as well as along the metatarsal bone.

Pain might arise at the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint as well as throughout the big toe and the first metatarsal bone. The discomfort is likely to manifest beneath the foot and evident while weightbearing.

The discomfort can spread to other regions of the foot. The doctor might suggest reducing the pain with an anti-inflammatory medication, application of ice and allowing the affected foot to rest.

Reduced range of motion

The swelling and pain due to a torn tendon in the big toe joint can reduce the range of motion. There is difficulty in bending the toe or stretching it upwards to the body.

The range of movement is expected to improve as the swelling and pain settles. The doctor might prescribe physical therapy exercises to improve the range of motion while recovering from the torn tendon injury. The suggested exercises include picking up objects using the toes or walking on the toes.

Difficulty walking

Swelling, pain and limited range of motion can make weightbearing difficult. The big toe joint is a weightbearing joint in the body that bend as one moves. If the individual seriously damaged the big toe tendon, walking can be painful.

The individual might walk with a limp or might not be able to place any weight on the foot at all. In such cases, the doctor will suggest immobilization of the foot along with the use of crutches or a different walking assistive device to promote healing of the toe joint.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on a torn tendon in the big toe is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications of the injury, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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