Broken Toe

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Broken toe facts

  • Broken toes are often caused by trauma or injury. Prolonged repetitive movements can cause a type of broken toe called a stress or hairline fracture.
  • Symptoms of a broken toe include
    • pain,
    • swelling,
    • stiffness,
    • bruising,
    • deformity, and
    • difficultly walking.
  • Possible complications of a broken toe include
  • Seek immediate medical care if you suspect an open fracture of the toe; if there is bleeding; cold, numb, or tingling sensation; if the toe appears deformed or is pointing in the wrong direction; or blue or gray color to the injured area.
  • A broken toe is diagnosed with a medical examination, which may include X-rays.
  • To help decrease pain and swelling in a broken toe, elevate the foot, ice the injury, and stay off the foot.
  • Depending on the severity of the fracture, the toe may need to be put back into place (reduced), and some compound toe fractures may require surgery.
  • Pain from a broken toe can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Buddy taping (taping the toe to an adjacent toe can be used to splint a fractured toe.
  • Most broken toes heal without complications in six weeks.

What is a broken toe?

A commonly injured area of the foot is the small bones of the toes (phalanges). There are 26 bones in the foot; 19 are bones in the forefoot (5 metatarsals and 14 phalanges). Trauma and the injury to the foot often causes one or more of the toe bones to break (fracture).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2015

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What to Do For A Broken Toe

If a broken toe doesn't require medical care you can care for a broken toe at home by following these steps.

  • Rest the toe and avoid putting pressure it; use crutches, a boot, or cane if necessary.
  • Ice the toe 15-20 minutes every couple of hours for the first two or three days.
  • Keep the foot elevated above the level of the heart to help decrease swelling.
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