T Nation

Living with Chronic Joint Pain in Big Toe


Hello T-Nation,

At the age of 34 my body has officially given me notice that I’m past my prime with some chronic joint pain in my big toe. I have been to the doctor and had an X-ray, and was told that there is some “wear and tear” on the joint that will eventually lead to arthritis and probably getting the joint fused. The doc advised me to go and see a podiatrist about an insole, which I am going to do.

The rub is that most of the activities I enjoy and which create my quality of life also now cause me pain, which can be debilitating depending on the activity. Climbing and dancing (yeah, dancing) cause a mild ache when I weight the joint the following morning, but this goes away by late afternoon or after some light activity. However, after I’ve been hiking I suffer pain that borders on debilitating when I weight the joint. Basically I can’t put any weight on the joint and so I have to hobble around. It doesn’t really hurt during these activities beyond the occasional brief, sharp pain.

I would be grateful to hear from anyone else with experience in managing this kind of condition. What works/doesn’t work? What are your experiences with surgery? Etc.

More specifically:

  • Supplementation: I find a super dose of fish oil helps. Does anyone have any experience of using Boswellia Serrata, glucosamine, chronoditin? What about anything else?

  • Insoles. Are these worth the money? Do they relieve the pain?

  • Any experience of different surgical options? How is life with a fused big toe joint?

  • Any other tips for getting more life out of the joint…

Thanks for taking the time to read, any input is greatly appreciated!


bro at least its only a toe. it wont stop you from hitting the gym.


In my early thirties I started having similar pain. I would get stabbing pains in the joint of my big toe on both feet. It got to the point where I’d be laying in bed and just having the blankets rub that joint would cause me pain. I finally talked to the right doctor and he tested me for gout. I really couldn’t believe that I had gout in my early thirties. The doctor put me on a gout medication that has almost completely cleared the pain. It still hurts after a run or a hike, but my quality of life has definitely increased.


Nah I can still train. It’s just walking that’s painful.


Apparently it’s an aristocratic condition. Sounds horrible though.


I jinxed myself commenting on this thread man because i developed big toe pain a week or two after this. what have you done to me?!