Is My Toe Broken?
Stubbing your toe on a piece of furniture is exquisitely painful, but the pain quickly dissipates. But what do you do when you injure a toe and the pain doesn’t disappear? What are the signs of a fracture of the bones in the toe, and what should you do if you suspect there is a break? What can you expect in terms of recovery and healing time?
How to Tell
If you suspect that you have broken one or more bones in a toe, you will clearly remember the incident happening. Most toe fractures occur after kicking something, or dropping a heavy object on the toe. Broken toes are painful, and there will likely be bruising, swelling, and redness around the area. In some extreme cases, the bone may be visible or protrude through the skin. If you can see the bone, or feel any “chips,” you need to see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Due to the pain associated with a fracture of the bone of the toe, walking may be painful, and wearing a shoe may be impossible. You may also see a collection of blood under the nail of the affected toe.
What to Do
You’ve seen a doctor or otherwise determined that you do have a broken toe. Now what? The usual treatment involves:
Taping the affected toe to the one beside it
Keeping the foot elevated
Icing the toe to reduce pain and swelling
Resting and protecting the entire foot
The entire healing process usually takes four to six weeks.
Most toe fractures heal without any issues. However, with any potential fracture, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor, particularly if:
Pain increases over time
Pain can’t be controlled with over the counter painkillers
Swelling increases after the first 36 hours
You have an open wound which may be infected
Some more complex fractures do require reduction (moving the broken bone back into the correct position for healing). Other situations which may arise as a result of a toe fracture include infection or osteoarthritis, but these are relatively rare.
Without toes, we would be unable to walk upright. Therefore, if you experience an injury to your toe, follow these guidelines to make sure you treat the injury appropriately. Request an appointment today to make sure your broken toe is healing correctly.