What to Do if You Break a Toe

A broken toe can be a major hassle that limits your mobility and freedom to live your way of life. But it is also something that can be easily overlooked as most people don’t even realise that their toe has been broken.
 

What Causes a Broken Toe?

Toes have 26 small bones and any one of them can get broken due to a number of different circumstances. Some common causes of broken toes are stubbing your toe against an object, or dropping something on it. 

Physical activity, such as playing sports, can also result in broken toes, but other repetitive activities that do not require too much exertion can produce a stress or hairline fracture in the toe which eventually develops into a break. Additionally, people with brittle bones, due to osteoporosis, can develop breaks from mild activities or from wearing footwear that exerts too much pressure on a concentrated area.
 

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

A broken toe may be overlooked if you don’t pay attention to it. However, there are signs that the toe has suffered damage, or is indeed broken. If you feel pain in your toes, you should look for signs of swelling or bruising, or any kind of discolouration, as that may be a sign the toe is broken, and not just bruised. 

A more obvious symptom of a broken toe is if the toe has become deformed or unnaturally bent. This would not be possible unless the toe was broken. 
 

Should You See a Podiatrist?

The moment you suspect that your toe is broken, you should immediately make an appointment to see your podiatrist. They will know how to check your injury and, following an evaluation, will recommend an X-ray that will give a clear idea of the state of the bones in the toe.

If kept unchecked, a broken toe can become a more serious problem. The toe can become permanently deformed from not being treated immediately and the patient could develop chronic pain.

The broken toe can lead to a blood clot, known as a hematoma. If the clot forms under the toenail, it can become infected and might need draining. If this is ignored, it could lead to severe infection and loss of the toe.

Another consequence of not treating a broken toe is that it can heal incorrectly, damaging the foot even further and causing a malformation in the way the toe sets. The only way to rectify such a malformation would be surgery.
 

What Treatment Does A Mildly Broken Toe Need?

Once you have been diagnosed with a broken toe, you should immediately rest it. If the injury is minor, like with most other foot injuries, the foot will require rest and elevation, as this is the best course of action to ensure that the foot heals faster. You should also try and stay off the foot as much as possible. Use crutches if necessary, so that the weight of the body stays off the foot while it heals.

Ice may be required to reduce the pain and swelling toe heal. You should apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time but never directly on the skin. Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or crushed ice in a bag. It is better to use smaller pieces of ice or icy objects as they will mould themselves to the toe better.
 

Treatment for Severely Broken Toes

When there is a severe break in the toe, the podiatrist may prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication to speed up the healing process. The foot may o need to be placed in a cast. 

Most likely, the doctor will recommend the patient get themselves a particular kind of shoe that will protect the toe from further harm and allow the patient some amount of mobility.

 

If you require medical attention for a suspected broken toe, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the podiatrist,  Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M., at Bayview Medical Centre.


If you have any questions about the kinds of stretches you can do for your feet, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Podiatrist, Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M. at Bayview Medical Centre.