What is toe pain? Toe pain is any uncomfortable sensation in the toes. Your toes contain bones (the phalanges), joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels, all of which are subject to injury, infection, or other conditions that cause pain. Toe pain may last briefly or be constant. You may feel a throbbing, piercing or tingling sensation. Pain-like sensations that are often described as pins and needles, prickling, or burning are called paresthesia. Toe pain may be simply irritating and uncomfortable or so debilitating that you cannot put a shoe on or put any kind of pressure on your foot or toe. Toe pain can arise from a variety of conditions ranging from a bunion to nerve conditions. In some cases, toe pain can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as an infection or peripheral artery disease. If you are experiencing persistent toe pain or pain with swelling, redness, and warmth of the toe, seek prompt medical care.