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sharp stabbing pain in toe

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Hi all. Hope someone can help me with this sudden new development which i think might be the onset of gout, but I need a bit more help with self-diagnosis.

A few days a go, i woke up in the night with a sharp stabbing type pain in my right big toe. The pain seemed to be in the cuticle around the bottom of the toe nail - almost as if I had a splinter in it. Bending and flexing the joint did NOT hurt at all. There was no redness or swelling.

At first I thought it was just some sort of problem with the skin around the bottom of the nail (cuticle?) or the splinter-type theory. But then I realised that the pain came and went even if there was no pressure or rubbing on the skin around the nail. It would keep me awake for 5 minutes or so then happen again a few hours later. For three days it happened only at night but today I have felt it a couple of times - once when walking around and once when just sitting watching the TV. Best described as a sharp stabbing pain that starts mildly for a few seconds or a minute gets worse quite sharply and is uncomfortable without being excruciating (yet?) for a few minutes then stops completely. Only to re-appear a few hours later. Exercising the joint by rubbing, flexing, walking around neither makes it worse or better. It just seems to come and go.

I am 63 years old (male) fit and normally very healthy. I play golf 3 times a week - which is equivalent to walking about 15 miles (even if I hit the ball straight!). I am not over-weight (rather thin actually) and eat pretty well. Not too much red meat and some fish but not prawns etc. I eat plenty of vegetables - not beans! However - here is the big issue - I just don't drink anything like the correct amount of water. I guess I always knew this, but didn't realise how low the levels were (been measuring it for a few days now). I doubt if I drink even two glasses of water a day, plus a couple of cups of coffee. I drink a couple of small cans of beer most lunch times and 1/2 bottle of wine a night - no weekend binges or anything. Clearly the beer doesn't help as I am reading in this forum and related sites.

I am going to make a big effort to up the water intake - I figured I should be around 2 litres per day in the winter here in Spain and perhaps 3 litres when it gets hotter.

First, do people think this might be the very early signs of mild gout, and, if so, apart from the water intake anything else I should be doing? Of course, if it gets worse, I'll go see a doctor, but haven't been to one in over five years - so if I can fix it myself I would much prefer that.

Thanks in Anticipation....
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First Helper Jake2012
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replied May 12th, 2009
I got exactly same symptom. I am having trouble with my left big toe. I am also looking forward to hearing any response regarding this same sharp pain issue.
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replied May 12th, 2009
Experienced User
Go to your doctor. Left untreated, the pain can get worse and lead to permanent joint damage. If the toe seems hot or swolen, then it might be infected.

There are specific medications for gout that your doctor can give you. Also, your doctor can help you work out dietary changes so it doesn't come back.

Also, no offense, but at your age, you should not go 5 years without seeing a doctor. In fact, regardless of age, no one should. Even if you feel fine, your doctor may catch something that you would never notice. You will live a longer, healthier, happier life if you get regular physicals. Okay, I'll step down off my soap box now. Smile
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replied August 24th, 2010
Big Toe/nail pain
My left big toenail gives unexpected pain as if a piece of glass is being scratched across the cuticle area. It comes and goes and I never know when.
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replied November 19th, 2010
Random toe pain
I am 27, good health and have had this happen to me multiple times. A random sharp pain in usually my right big toe. It is inconsistent, and can happen once then not happen again for months. I've never been able to explain it. The only other person I know who has had this happen and knows what I'm talking about is a cousin of mine. I'm pre-med in my studies and have looked into it, but have found nothing of significance. The best explanation I have received is from a neurologist friend who said it's could possibly be a channeled misfire of nerves that can happen at any random occasion causing a sensation of pain in a focused area. So it's really a big guess unless you have other medical conditions that can contribute to such a symptom. And as usual, if you think this is an extension of a larger problem or occurs frequently, see your doctor.
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replied December 22nd, 2010
I have this same problem only with my little toe. I stubbed it very badly a couple years ago and the pain has not subsided since. It is stabbing, sharp, and feels like a knife is digging into my toe. It will go on for weeks and much more sever at night but then go away for a few days but come right back. I have to take 4 advil to sleep through the night. It also comes in waves, like you can feel it getting more intense over several seconds then it peaks to a severe pain. I can't have anything touching it during a flare-up, I cannot even wear socks, and I have to sleep with that foot out of the covers so nothing touches it. I lose a lot of sleep due to the pain. Were you able to find any solution to your problem?
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replied January 27th, 2011
any news on the cause
Hi, did you find the cause, I'm too here in Spain, am 32, was very unhealthy in my drinking habits, well always drank my 2Ltrs a day etc, but way to much alcohol and no exercise. Started exercising lots a year ago but too suffer from that toe pain.........whats the cause, any ideas from your doctor?
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replied August 6th, 2011
Re: Pain in toe question/answer
Be sure also to include prayer in your daily activities...God can heal anything, if it is His will...
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replied January 7th, 2012
Pain in my big toe
I started having intermittent stabbing pains and skin sensitivity in my big toe a while ago. The podiatrist kept on giving me cortisone shots during the following weeks. They did not really help. The pain was so severe that it was interfering with my sleep.

Then I started having pains in my buttock area. The x-rays were normal. Finally a doctor did an MRI and it showed a cyst in my spine. I had surgery and they removed the cyst. The awful pain disappeared almost overnight.

Lesson learned..if one doctor does not know what is wrong with you go to another and keep on searching till you get the answer.
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replied June 2nd, 2012
I was going nuts with this sharp pain, like a needle, stabbing into my 2nd toe. Thanks to reading these postings I realized what it was for me. I was wearing my usual birkenstocks but with heavier than usual socks. Those socks were pressing down on the top of the arch of my foot under the shoe strap....and that was causing a nerve to react in my toe. Threw those socks away and the problem went with them! I hope everyone else can solve their issues as easily as I did.
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replied July 11th, 2012
toe and toenail pain
I had attributed the occasional - and now regular - stabbing pain in the cuticle of my left big toe and the feeling as though a nail is being pounded onto that same toenail to the uncuttable onychomychosis in that toenail. However, I recently had the pinpoint laser treatment to cure the fungus in the left big toenail as well as in any other toenails, and have only felt more stabbing pain in the front of the big toe, and through the toe, as if the bone in the middle of the toe had been pounded.

I injured my left big toe dancing years ago, and have assumed I did a little nerve damage to it which has gotten progressively worse as I get older - but I am wondering if I have gout? My doctor does not believe that all of this pain could be from toenail fungus, but prescribes hydrocodone for the pain when I can't take it any more...

Thanks for any feedback -
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replied September 12th, 2012
Stabbing toe pain
I have recently developed this similar stabbing pain at the base of the nail on my left big toe. Feels like someone is pushing a needle down into my toe. The pain lasts for 5-10 seconds. It happens under a variety of conditions.....bare feet, shoes, socks, sitting, standing. There is no other symptoms. No swelling, redness, etc.
I'm a 49 year old male. I exercise regularly, mostly running although when this started my running levels were quite low. I recently returned from a 2 week hiking trip in Colorado, Utah and Arizona when this started. I rarely drink alcohol but did drink quite a bit in my youth. I don't smoke and eat reasonably well (although it could be better). Strange. I don't think it's gout.
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replied April 17th, 2013
Toe pain
I'm now 30 and have had this occur intermittently with some gaps as manat as a year or two apart since childhood. No redness, swelling or fungal infections. Knowing a little about referred pain I wonder if its something to do with that? And also if a general virus could cause it? Cold/flu type virus can cause all kinds of odd aches and pains. Had it today a few times, first time in about a year, sounds odd but I find gently standing on the toe/ nailed with my other foot and gently applying pressure really helps.
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replied April 20th, 2013
Sharp nerve pain on top of middle toe
It just started for me. Last night I was watching TV, all at once, I felt an extremely sharp pain on top of my middle toe and I thought for a second maybe a spider or some kind of bug had bit me; however I had my shoes and socks on so that wasn't the case. The pain was, sharp, instant, and excruciating, then went away only to come back in another 10 seconds. Last night it bother me thru the night, and this morning is no different... and I am worried! I am not diabetic, but I am hypoglycemic, so the sugar issue is non existent.
Otherwise, I am a healthy 70 years old with no mayor health issues. After reading all the threads and commentaries here, I am amazed that no one has come back with a logical answer to the cause of this "horrible" pain. I hope It will eventually go away on its own, otherwise, a doctor's visit is next.
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