Broken Toe (cont.)

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Other therapy (reduction, buddy taping, how to tape a broken toe, casting)


  • If the toe fracture is displaced (the two ends of the broken toe bone are out of place) or rotated (the toe is pointing in the wrong direction), or the toe is dislocated, the doctor may need to reduce it, or set the broken toe back into place.
  • Sometimes local anesthesia may be needed to numb the toe before it is put back into place.
  • After a reduction, a splint will be applied to the broken toe to hold it in place while it heals.

Buddy taping

  • If there is a minor or small fracture in a bone of one of the small toes, a doctor may only need to tape the injured toe to the one next to it for support. This treatment is called buddy taping.
  • If the toe is buddy taped, it is usually safe to bathe, and then replace the tape afterward, however, check with the doctor prior to removing the tape to bathe.

How to tape a broken toe

  • Put a small piece of cotton or gauze between the toes that are taped together. This prevents the skin between the toes from developing sores or blisters. Using as little tape as necessary, loosely tape the broken toe to the toe next to it. If the toes are taped too tightly it can cause additional swelling and may cut off circulation to the injured toe.


  • A cast is usually not required for a simple toe fracture. A hard-soled, sturdy, and supportive shoe or boot should be worn. A doctor may give the patient a special shoe to wear if the foot or toes are very swollen.
  • A cast (or surgery) may be needed if the big toe is broken, a fracture involves a joint, several small toe fractures occur at once, or if a bone in the foot or leg is broken in addition to the toe.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/27/2015

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