Broken Toe (cont.)

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Caring for a broken toe at home

Most minor toe injuries can be treated at home. If a person is unsure or suspects a fracture, seek medical attention. The following can be done to help decrease pain and swelling from a broken toe and to help the fracture heal properly.

  • Rest: Avoid strenuous exercise, prolonged standing, or walking. Crutches may be needed, or a special shoe or boot to wear when walking to avoid putting weight on the fracture while it heals.
  • Ice: Put ice in a plastic bag and apply it to the injury for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours for the first 1-2 days. Place a towel between the skin and the ice to protect the skin. Frozen peas or corn can also be used to ice the broken toe they may conform to the fractured area better than ice.
  • Elevation: To decrease swelling and pain, keep the foot raised above the level of the heart as much and as often as possible. Prop the foot up as much as possible (for example use several pillows), especially when sleeping. Reclining in a lounge chair is also helpful.

Medical treatment

Depending on the location and severity of the toe fracture, the fracture may need to be put back into place (reduced) and splinted or casted. Because it has a significant weight bearing role, fractures of the great toe are often more serious and more likely to require reduction or surgical treatment. If there is an open wound near the injured toe, a tetanus shot and antibiotic medication may also be necessary.

If there is an open (compound) fracture of the toe, surgery may be necessary in some cases, and antibiotics will be given. This type of fracture should be seen by a doctor immediately.

Medications

Usually only acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) is needed for pain. For a severe fracture, the doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/10/2014

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