Broken Toe

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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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: nail injury, compound fracture, infection, deformity, or arthritis.
  • 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. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 8/31/2015
References
REFERENCE: Silbergleit, R. MD. Foot Fracture. Medscape. Aug 07, 2014

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