If you are asking the above question, we have a great answer for you. Many people are concerned when a bump develops on top of the big toe joint, no matter if the bump is painful or not. The fact is, this bump can indicate a problem that may need to be addressed sooner than later, especially if there is pain.
A bump on top of the big toe joint is commonly called a dorsal bunion, although it is due to a somewhat different process than the cause of a traditional bunion, in which there is a bone prominence on the side of the big toe joint. This dorsal bunion is due to spurs that form on the top of the big toe joint from mechanical jamming of the joint during motion. As the joint becomes less mobile and efficient in moving the big toe up over time, spurs will form on the top of the joint as it tries to move beyond its actual capability. This jamming of the joint can be due to bone that is too long, too short, or too elevated. It can also be the result of prior injury that may have damaged the joint previously.
Essentially, the bump on the top of the foot is arthritis. This arthritis is not as easily managed with medication like in other parts of the body. The big toe joint receives a great deal of pressure from the act of walking, and the motion required of it is relatively absolute. Reducing inflammation with anti-inflammatory medication is often not enough, and surgery is often needed to either simply reduce the spurring, or fix the underlying bone structure abnormality leading to the condition. Even if the bump on top of the big toe joint is not very painful, it is very likely to become painful at some point in the future, and the resulting arthritis can become severe. By addressing it early, one can avoid developing serious arthritis of the big toe joint that may require more aggressive surgery to replace the joint.
If you feel a hard bump on top of your big toe joint, come see one of our podiatrists for an exam and discussion on whether it will pose a problem for you sooner or later.