Common big toe problems include arthritis (hallux rigidus), bunions (hallux valgus) and ingrowing toenails. The symptoms you experience depend on the underlying problem but, generally, hallux problems will cause you pain when walking or problems with neighboring toes.
With hallux rigidus there is pain and stiffness when you try to move your toe. The main joint has developed arthritis. You will have difficulties with activities such as walking, bending or squatting. The joint at the base of your big toe may be inflamed and swollen. The symptoms are likely to get worse in wet or cold weather.
If you have hallux valgus your foot may be painful, particularly around the big toe joint. In addition, the big toe will become more angled towards the other toes and will appear to be more prominent. The skin can also become irritated or hard around the affected area. The pain might get worse when you are wearing shoes or simply when walking. You may find that you are getting blisters more easily. A pronounced case of hallux valgus is often associated with hammer toes. If the condition gets worse and the deformity becomes more severe, you may start to experience pain in your foot even when you are not wearing shoes.
Ingrowing toenails may cause inflammation of the skin at the end of the toe. You will feel pain when any pressure is put on the toe, and your toe will become red and swollen. In severe cases your toe may even bleed, and your skin grow over the toe (hypertrophy). You may also have pus drainage coming from the base of your toenail.
Sometimes, ingrown toenails can cure themselves. However, it is common that the condition recurs. When the condition is recurring, a medical doctor should treat it.