Broken Toe Overview

Broken Toe: Brief | Causes | Symptoms | Home Treatment | Medical Treatment | Summary

Broken Toe in Brief



If you think you have a broken toe, remember first that it could be a dislocated toe or a sprained toe. Your toes are composed of several small bones and one or more of these could be broken, sprained, dislocated or fractured, the broken toe symptoms section below gives you greater detail about what the problem likely is. Toe injuries are quite common and there is a wide array of toe injuries that can occur.

Broken toes are generally caused by trauma or injury but extended exposure to repetitive movements such as running, cycling or climbing can lead to toe fractures due to the stress continually placed on the toe. The symptoms range from swelling and toe deformity to extreme pain, stiffness and bruising. If the toe is actually broken, it is likely that you will have trouble walking. To avoid possible infections or long term damage, medical care should be sought if the toe is bleeding, going cold or numb (which can lead to a change in toe color to blue or grey).

To know where the toe is broken, a doctor or medical professional will likely take an x-ray to gain a better idea of what treatment is required. Severe injuries may need to the toe to be put back into place (reducing) or even require surgery, but many toe injuries can be handled with over-the-counter medication and home treatment or buddy-taping. Most broken toes are able to heal fully within six weeks.


Broken Toe Causes

Knowing the cause of your broken toe is important. The most likely cause as mentioned in the broken toe overview section is trauma and/or injury to the toe. Trauma to the foot can also cause toe injuries. If you are planning on seeing a toe doctor or looking for how to treat a broken toe know whether you stubbed or toe, tripped over something or whether the toe pain is a long terms symptom is of great value.

Medical professionals will be able to diagnose a broken toe much faster if you are able to pinpoint the location and explain the incidences leading up to your visit. If you are treating a broken toe at home, knowledge of the injury will help you heal and treat the broken toe symptoms much more efficiently. The big toes are commonly the toe injured. Dropping a heavy object or stubbing the joint can lead to broken bones a lot more easily than many people think.


Broken Toe Symptoms

Broken toe symptoms are far reaching and widespread. Although there are a few common elements that many people tend to recognize, everybody is different and no one quite feels pains the same way. Different bones may be broken and it’s important to know whether toe requires medical treatment or not. Some symptoms are universal, others are individual.

After you’ve injured your toe, the joint will swell, and become stiff. You’ll likely feel a range of toe pain from mild to severe. Bruising can often occur and you may notice that the toe does not appear ‘normal’ but instead may appear “deformed” or “bent” or out of place (a toe out of place may also be a dislocated toe). Putting any pressure on the toe such as pressure from walking will lead to an increase of pain. As previously mentioned the big toe is the most common toe to break and will be very noticeable at is bears the most of weight out of any toe while walking.

It is important to note that the smaller toes, especially the pinky toe may be broken but be as noticeable due to the lack of movement and pressure required by that particular toe. It is still vital to look for bruised skin and/or a bent and deformed appearance of the toe as well as to test for pain, swelling and stiffness. You want avoid broken toe complications that can arise out of neglecting to care for and treat a broken toe.

If you neglect to treat a broken toe, some more serious complications both immediate and long term can arise. Some of the immediate complications consist of:
Subungual Hematoma: This occurs when blood may pools underneath the toenail. The subungual hematoma must be drained if this complication arises and a doctor will actually make a small hole to drain the blood out. The injury can be very painful and the procedure can actually require the removal of the entire toenail depending on the size of the hematoma.
Open Fracture: Putting pressure on the toe or attempting to use the foot after a toe injury can lead to an open fracture which is when the broken toe sticks through the skin and is visible to the outside environment. Although this is rare, it is extremely painful and opens the toe to risk of infection. You should carefully cleanse the wound before seeing a toe doctor or medical professional for aid.

Some of the delayed complications consist of:
Extended Toe Pain: Even after the toe has been treated, a patient may still pain or stiffness in the toe and may display arthritic symptoms.
Improper Healing: In rare circumstances the toe may not heal correctly. The bone may not heal fully (nonunion) or improperly (malunion). The toe may also heal in a deformed or bent shape causing pain and/or discomfort while walking or wearing certain shoes.
Toe Infection: If the wound left open too long or is dirty there is a greater chance of infection developing which can lead to consequences that range from antibiotic medicine to toe amputation. It’s much better to give the toe immediate treatment instead of risking long term damage.


How to Treat a Broken Toe

Broken Toe Home Treatment



Treating a broken toe at home is viable option if you’ve determined that the toe has displayed none of the broken toe complications listed above or any sever broken toe symptoms that would warrant medical attention. It’s even easier to home heal a toe if you only have a sprained toe or dislocated toe.

The general and safe procedure for helping a broken toe to heal at home is following the R.I.C.E. formula while minimizing the compression aspect.

Rest: If the toe hurts to use it makes sense to avoid exercise, walking and even standing if these actions cause toe pain. Although you may be required to move a certain amount in your day to day activities, minimizing movement or using crutches can help to alleviate any unnecessary pressure on the broken toe bones and leading to a faster recovery.

Ice: Putting ice on the injured toe slows inflammation and swelling to the area of an injury. Helping to soothe the inflammation helps to reduce some of the pain. Pain is also relieved as the ice numbs the sore toe tissues and reduces the pain-spasm reactions that occur between the nerves in the toe. When the ice is applied, the veins contract which reduces circulation to the area. When the ice is removed the veins overcompensate and dilate which leads to a rush of nutrients in the blood being brought to the injured area to expedite recovery.

Either use an icepack, a plastic bag filled with ice or even a bag of frozen peas or corn. It can help to apply a thin towel between the skin and ice to protect the skin. Icing should then be done for 20 minute periods every few hours for the first few days after the injury.

Compression: Since the is a small body part, compressing it can often cause more harm then good by placing pressure on the toe. The smaller toes may be hard to compress and may push the bones further out of place. Lightly compressing the big toe can help the toe recover, but remember not to overdo it. Although compression can help limit the swelling, it can also delay healing which is not good for the long term health of your feet.

Elevation: Elevating the toes is a better method to reduce swelling. Reducing the blood flow to the toes helps the swelling to go down and reduce the amount of pain you feel. While elevating the foot and toes you are also giving your body time to rest and avoiding any unnecessary use of your toes.

Over-the-counter medication for toe injuries such as Tylenol or ibuprofen can be taken for toe pain when treating a broken a toe at home. In the even the pain is extreme and you seek medical attention (next section), a doctor may prescribe strong medication or use a cast or splint to set the toe in place. Antibiotic medication may be required if the injured toe has been bleeding or exposed to an unclean environment.


Broken Toe Medical Treatment

Seeking the counsel of a medical professional if you think you have a broken toe is always a wise choice. A doctor will likely be able to pinpoint and locate the specific broken bone(s) by training, experience and the use of an x-ray machine if necessary. The quicker you seek medication attention after the injury the better as the toe will start to heal soon after you injure it and if any medical intervention is required, earlier is almost always better.

The doctor will generally ask questions and request that you gently move the toe or try to put light pressure on it to determine the nature of the injury. Sometimes x-ray machines will be used to diagnose the broken toe and in rare cases and MRI might be used.

If you choose to teat your broken toe at home you should carefully monitor your foot to make sure the toe injury hasn’t taken a turn for the worse. Some signs to look for include:

Increasing Toe Pain: If the toe pain starts increasing and is not relieved by over-the-counter medications, calling a doctor is a smart move to prevent the toe injury from worsening.
Sores or Signs of Infection: If the broken toe area starts showing signs of infection including increased redness, bleeding, sores, pus etc. calling a doctor or going to the hospital is necessary. Don’t wait and see if the toe will fix itself, take action to stop the problem from getting worse.
Cold, Numb, Tingling or Discoloured Toes: If the toe feels like its losing circulation or is becoming numb for no reason, seeking the help of am medical professional should be your next step. If the color of the toe starts changing to blue or grey the toe needs immediate attention and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Open Toe Wound: If the toe wound is open, is bleeding or has opened more than once seeking medical care if the next move.
Broken Toe Cast: If the cast or splint applied either be yourself or by a doctor is broken or causing severe pain, seeking help is the right move. Holding out against the pain can cause long term damage to the toe.

If the broken toe is severely out of place the doctor will likely make use of casting, reduction or buddy taping. Casting is not usually required for toes, but if the bones are in particularly bad condition the doctor may cast the toe or provide special footwear designed to help keep the toe in place and ensure the toe heals correctly.

Reduction occurs when the toe doctor actually resets the toe position. If the toe fracture has caused the toe to be move far out of place, they will have to be realigned in order for them to mend correctly. Buddy taping is a less intense version that usually occurs if the broken toe is only minor. The doctor will wrap the toe with another beside it to reduce movement and ensure the toe stays aligned.

Always ask your doctor whether the toe is safe to bathe and whether the gauze or bandage can be unwrapped and rewrapped. If you are re-taping a broken toe yourself, ensure that a small layer of gauze or cotton is inserted in between the toes. This will help eliminate any changes of sores or blisters occurring between the toes. Additionally, make sure you wrap the toes snugly, but not too tightly to limit movement, yet keep circulation

Whether you’ve set the broken toe at home or sought the assistance of a medical professional, a follow up is always a good idea. Not only will you be prepared for any potential negative development, but there is always the chance that your toe may have healed faster and you’ll be able to return to your day to day routine earlier than you thought.


Broken Toe Summary

Remember that the best way to stop yourself from breaking toes is to act with prevention. Be cautious while moving barefoot, especially in dimly lit circumstances. Wearing protective shoes and other layers such as socks can help prevent or reduce potential toe injuries.

If you do injure your toe, they take on average approximately six weeks to heal depending on the seriousness of the injury. If any broken toe complications appear, seeing a doctor is vital to prevent future damage. Many broken toes are simple and just take time as well as R.I.C.E. to heal, however if the pain lasts longer than six weeks or is getting worse, make sure to take further action.

Always treat your body, not just your toes, with the utmost respect. Don’t overload any injured areas and when faced with a choice while having a toe injury, always exercise caution. Your body will thank you in the long run.

106 Responses to Broken Toe

  • reuben says:

    thanks for the info. I injured my toe horse playing yesterday with a buddy. we were punching each other with a fist in the back while the other hand was deadlock in a handshake grip. I didnt feel the pain in my toe until afterward. I believe he stepped on my toe and i put pressure with movement, its a wierd accident. But it slightly painful to walk, swelling up, and feeling numb. Its my big toe. I will call my doc tomorrow and make an appointment. I was going to try to still exercise until i read the info on this site. thanks again

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Reuben,

      Glad the site is helpful. Keep a close eye on the toe for any warning signs of further broken joints.

      ToeDoc

      • gem says:

        Hi i was opening a door yesterday an caught my big toe it was so soar when it happened an still is these is a bruse going across the toe and its extremly stiff and the pain is constant and is shooting into my ancle also it feels very cold i had an ingrown toenail removed from same toe over a year ago please help

        • Toe Doc says:

          Hi Gem,

          It sounds like a jammed joint and is a relatively minor injury that will bug you for a ew days or even up to a week. If the pain persists while walking or engaging in normal activity for two or more weeks than you may want to visit a doctor to get an x-ray or analysis to check if the toe is fractured or broken.

          ToeDoc

          • gem says:

            Thank you very much what can i expect if it is broken

          • Toe Doc says:

            Hi Gem,

            Look at some of the symptoms on this page. If the toe is broken it will need to be taped or casted. You’ll likely have to keep weight of the joint for the next month and make sure the toe is protected from any jolts, bumps or injury causing scenarios. If the toe is broken you may also want to take some NSAIDs to help relieve some of the pain. For further analysis visit a local GP to get the toe x-rayed.

            ToeDoc

  • Rebecca Butchart says:

    In October I tripped up a kerb and I think I broke my big toe. It doubled in size the toe and foot went black. I was unable to even put my foot to the floor for 5 days. I have never seeked medical advice but i am still.in a lot.of pain and wondering what to do?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Start with R.I.C.E. treatment as recommended on this page and also check out some of the actions to take after you break your toe or some of the broken toe treatment options. If the symptoms don’t subside it’s important to see a doctor. If the pain lessens and becomes manageable you may be able to take care of the toe at home. Due to the fact that the toe still seriously hurts after five days it’s important that monitor the condition. If the swelling and bruising continues over the next couple of days even with the R.I.C.E. treatment, seek medical attention.

      ToeDoc

  • Alessandra says:

    Last night at about 10 I kicked my portable heater really hard while I was running up the stairs. It didnt hurt very mcuh at first but when I layed down it was super bad. I ran in gym today which made it worse..and now its cold and numb…My mom wants to reset it by like yanking on it or something and I think she will screw it up but I dont know much about it. I will feel like a loser if i go to the ER like some people say but I dont know what to do! It is also slightly bruised I think and it is bent.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Alessandra,

      The toe should be yanked into place unless you are sure it is broken and someone actually knows what they’re doing. If you really don’t want to go to the ER, book an appointment with your local GP or podiatrist. Running on the toe will of course aggravate any injury. You may want to try taking a few days off and apply rest, ice, compression and elevation. This may still work, however if you have worsened the injury by running on it a doctor’s attention may be required.

      ToeDoc

  • Amanda says:

    Hello I stubbed my foot a week ago as of today and the doc took an X-ray and told me I broke the third toe from the big toe so he told me I need to tape it to the next foot and I have been doing that but my toes keep feeling numb and cold now like there is no circulation so I was wondering if that is a bad sign and should get it looked at tomarrow or just wait til my check up appt with the doc that is in three days?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Amanda,

      If the sensation isn’t getting any worse it may be okay. Does the toe actually have no circulation or does it just feel that way? Basically what we need to determine here is if the numbness is from the buddy wrapping, the injury or if it’s just a minor side effect. If it really starts to bother you give your doctor a call and ask or release the buddy wrap if necessary.

      ToeDoc

  • Dawn says:

    Hi,
    17 years ago when I was a kid, I broke my big toe and my parents did not believe me. I always liked to play with crutches. When I was 11 I broke my foot in 6 spots. after the xray the dr told me
    and my parents I had in fact had a broken toe that had healed and no further treatment was needed for it. The problem is that it has never felt right since. It constantly feels like I need to crack it and once in awhile when walking I get sharp pains in the toe. What can be done this long after?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Dawn,

      There’s often not much you can do short of re-breaking the toe if the injury has healed in an unnatural manner. Sometimes chiropodists or anyone who specialized in Active Release Technique (ART) can help scrape the scar tissue away and reset the toe in it’s natural condition. Depending on how the toe healed, what causes you discomfort and how long since the time of the injury are all major parts in the success rate of alleviating long term toe pain. Explain the problem to your doctor or podiatrist and seek someone who specializes in ART or another similar therapy and see what their opinion is.

      ToeDoc

  • beth says:

    I fell down the stairs and hit my big toe on the wall. I have diabetes. The toe was swollen and colorful for few days. Seemed to be getting better but tonight is swollen, red, and warm. Also red a little into my foot above the toe. Think I need to get it looked at now? I fly back to home in Ecuador on day after tomorrow.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Beth,

      Depending on whether the toe ‘seemed’ to be getting better or not is a vague term in this circumstance. Sometimes we just get used to the current level of discomfort or pain the injury is causing and only notice when it gets worse. In your case the swollen nature and redness of the toe may indicate a sprain, not a broken toe, especially if you’ve been moving around with minimal trouble. If you want to get it checked out, but R.I.C.E. treatment here may be effective.

      ToeDoc

  • Zy says:

    I hit my little toe really hard against one of the legs of the table last night.. It was so painful! Now my toe is swollen.. I can’t really bend it because it’s swollen and i can’t really walk properly. The area near e toe is bruised (green colour) because of the impact.. I’m using ice treatment now.. Have i broken my toe? how long does it take to heal?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Zy,

      Do a quick comparison with some of the symptoms of a broken toe on this page, but also take a look look at some of the broken toe treatment options and what to look for when deciphering between a sprained toe and a broken toe. The toe may swell up even more tomorrow, but if the pain starts to subside and the bruising begins to lessen within a couple of day the toe is likely sprained. If the pain persists and the toe feels out of place and hurts no matter what movement it’s engaged in there’s a good chance the toe is broken and requires medical attention. If the pain is quite substantial there’s a good chance that the joint is broken and needs attention.

      ToeDoc

      • Zy says:

        If I’m not walking, my toe is not painful n no further swelling.. But swelling has not subsided.. If I’m walking, there’s still slight discomfort due to the swelling.. Does this mean that my toe is sprained n not broken? I’m still giving ice treatment to the toe.. if it’s a sprain, how long will it heal?

        • Toe Doc says:

          Hi Zy,

          Try checking out the sprained toe section for a baseline of where your injury falls in terms of severity. If there’s no improvement after four or five days, see a doctor as the toe is potentially broken. In the meantime, you may want to buddy-wrap the toe as a precautionary measure.

          ToeDoc

  • Janie says:

    I broke my baby toe on Tuesday. I did see a doctor to confirm it. I started Sunday getting pain in my ankle and up my leg. Is this normal to feel pain, throbbing in the rest of my leg? I’m taking arnica pills and using arnica topical. My toe is taped also.
    Thanks,
    Janie

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Janie,

      Sometimes the surrounding areas of an injury can hurt a bit, but having the pain extend up your leg is unusual. When the doctor confirmed your broken toe, did he also look into your ankle and leg. Although I don’t know the details of the initial injury there’s a chance you may have injured the ankle and leg as well. This pain may be related to the broken toe, but could also just be bruised, or stressed. It’s likely that that the broken toe has something to do with the pain int he ankle and foot, but we need to distinguish whether the other parts were hurt in the initial trauma or as a result of the broken toe.

      ToeDoc

  • Hollis says:

    I injured (probably broke) my pinky toe back at the end of August. After 10 weeks of very slow healing, I went on a long, brisk walk and was in a lot of pain again. X-ray shows there may have been a recent break, but the bone had healed. Had an MRI, which showed fluid in the bone. My doctor says fluid in the bone can result from a break, is no big deal, and will heal with time. I am concerned, as can’t find any reference that says this is a known complication.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Hollis,

      If you’re doctor thinks it’s okay I’d likely go along with his advice, however I would also monitor the toe carefully to make sure the pain is gradually decreasing. If the toe is not getting better then this complication may be more serious than your doctor thinks. Don’t actively look to undermine your doctor’s advice but keep a mental tab on whether the toe needs attention or not in the coming weeks and if so return and explain the situation using specific examples and sensations to help your doctor understand completely.

      ToeDoc

  • Kim says:

    Hi! I found the site while looking for answers on how to treat a toe injury. I was cleaning two days ago and dropped a very heavy book on the toes of my riight foot. The only toe impacted was the one next to the little one. It is about 2 times it’s size and has kind of greyish bruising on off white skin. It hurts like the dickens to walk, with pain coming from th sole of my foot radiating upward. The pain must be pretty bad because I am on opioid therapy for chronic pain conditions (spinal and fibromyalgia). When I forget it and jump down from the seat of the car, it feels like pins are sticking me in the injured toe. Is this part of the healing process,,,and how long does healing take until things are “back to normal”? Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kim,

      The symptoms and description of your injury sound like a broken joint or joints and may also have some fracturing if the middle of the foot is in pain. In this case I wouldn’t wait for things to go back to normal, it’s important you see a doctor soon especially if the pain is severe enough to bypass the therapy.

      ToeDoc

  • Kris says:

    I caught my little toe last night on a table leg – it hurt incredibly and by 2am I needed very strong pain killers to get a little sleep! Today – 15 hours after the incident I still have incredible burning pain in the area of the little toe I hit- I can’t walk- I have just taken more pain killers- but surprisingly I have little bruising or swelling – I am doing ice , rest and elevation – would it be sprained rather than broken due to no swelling and bruising? – the little toe is slightly bent outwards but not too badly- the table leg really caught me at the base of the 2 last toes right in where the 2 toes meet! Any advice?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kris,

      People respond differently to injuries. The toe may be fractured, sprained or even broken. It’s smart that you took quick action as the faster you respond, the less the symptoms effect you. Strong burning pain is usually associated with a more serious injury, especially 15 hours after the event. IF the toe appears out of place and is consistently hurting without you putting excess pressure on the joint it’s likely a minor break that will require attention from a doctor.

      ToeDoc

  • Judi Fisher says:

    I stubbed my toe, next to smallest, three days ago. It bruised and was very painful, but, I went shopping and carried on normally. Although a little painful it was bearable. This morning I went to play golf and was fine until the 9th when it felt as though the bone in the toe was moving. The pain was excruciating and I hobbled off and got home. The toe is very dark red and swollen and still very painful to stand on. Have I made it worse by using it? Do you think I should get an xray?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Judi,

      You’ve likely aggravated the in injured toe. You may have sprained it and then worsened the sprain by using the toe. This ‘tweaking’ of an injury is quite common in sports and usually occurs when the person pushes away the pain sensation and carries on. Chemicals in the body such as adrenaline can mask some of the symptoms we’re supposed to watch out for. In your case it likely didn’t appear to be a problem until you accidentally pushed it a little too far playing golf. Give the toe a week or so of rest with R.I.C.E. treatment and if the swelling doesn’t go down it’s time to see a doctor.

      ToeDoc

  • Tara says:

    Hi doc,
    I’m a nurse at a local hospital and whilst working in theatre one shift they were cleaning the bed and the arm fell off and landed side ways across my foot.

    Extreme pain etc. intial X-ray showed no fracture. Kept complaining to my local dr sonethinh wasn’t right. Never got better , pain all the time do he treated it with steroid injections. Still continued to have problems pain swelling unable to straighten it . 6mths later I went to another dr told him te whole story and he sent me for a X-ray . It’s broken and now a nonuion fracture with a cleft ?? What ever tha means. So I had to buddy tape cause he doesn’t know what to do with it now and sent me for a surgical review with a ortho surgeon .. His response was I think it’s infected ( which I don’t ) sent me a bone scan which I’m now waiting for the results and his response was it needs to come off :( is this right ? And if it’s not infected I either have to put up with the pain etc for the rest of my life or still have it amputated . ;( he said he can’t pin in because of where the break is it , but surely dorm thing else can be done . My dr has no idea even where to start or why he can do with me being 6 mths later..

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tara,

      In this case you’ve got multiple doctors providing different opinions. It may be time to seek the opinion of a true professional podiatrist or visit a clinic with your collected findings. Take all of what your doctors have said to you and visit a local professional who will be able to provide you with direction from there. Unfortunately the internet is not yet a great avenue for more complicated scenarios such as your own. We’d like to provide more assistance but the best option lies with someone who has access to your medical and injury history as well as the capability to operate on your foot and toe now.

      ToeDoc

  • karon macdonald says:

    Hi Doc
    I kicked my foot on bricks, now my big toe is showing bruising and a burning sensation, I cant walk on it and i have started r.i.c.e. it has been 10 hours since doing and it is really painful. Should i seek medical advice or just continue with r.i.c.e. Presuming it is possibly broken apart from the r.i.c.e method what else should i do.

    thanks karon

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Karen,

      Take a look at this page that talks about immediate steps after a broken toe. Although your injury may be a little farther along this page may help. Basically you want to firm an analysis if whether your toe is actually broken or not. It’s always advisable that if you’re unsure after 48 ours, visit a doctor and if you’re 100% sure the toe is broken, see a health care provider for taping and treatment.

      ToeDoc

  • greta harlow says:

    hey, i smashed my toe into the couch on new year’s. i couldn’t touch it, let the blanket touch it, walk on it, or move it for 2 days. that was a week ago and i can walk ok but only in slippers and dragging my foot. if i put shoes on it feels like my little toe is being crushed all over again. i didn’t go to the doc. although i walk pretty straight in my slippers at work, my toe gets sore and hurts by the end of the day. it is all black and blue in front and in back. could it be broken but i’m able to walk on it? i can manually move it a few ways, but if i move it a certain way the pain shoots right to my head. is it possible it could be broken? it’s a week later and i’m surprised at how well i can mangae my stroll, but also surprised at how much it still throbs and shoots pain if i move it a certain way.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Greta,

      It sounds like the toe is fractured or broken. Although the joint may be tender, try buddy wrapping it to its neighbor and see if that helps when performing daily activities. It’s best to ice the toe and give it time to rest but if you need to get things done, buddy wrapping may be the best option.

      If the toe is showing signs of improvement and less pain slowly start putting more pressure on it until the buddy wrap is no longer required. If there is no sign of improvement over the next week, see a local GP for further advice or work to take more stress and strain off the toe. Although the joint is small, these injuries can sometimes be quite debilitating and require some time off in order to recover from the trauma.

      ToeDoc

  • alen says:

    hi doc i hope u have some advice for me:), about 2 weeks ago i accidentaly dropped my electric guitar on my big toe. it was really painful and my toe was stiff for 2 days. the guitar landed right on the toe joint. the discomfort has been gettin better day by day and now the toe doesnt hurt at all except if i run, or put weight on it, it feels tender with a little pain. i can move the joint with no pain. should it have completely healed by now? there is no bruising or swelling, the joint only becomes tender if i try to run or put weight on it. ok, thank you in advance.:)

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Alen,

      Sounds like you’re on the road to recovery. If it’s been getting better and better and you can engage in activity with no pain then you’re close to the end of the healing process. You’ll notice, as you mention, that some activities still strain the toe. You’re 95% of the way there and can engage in most pursuits that involve the feet.

      If you feel the toe getting worse or increasing in pain, take time off, but for the time being it’s almost completed healed.

      ToeDoc

  • Laura says:

    Hi, I was running around my house 2 days ago and when I ran around the corner I jammed my last two toes into the piano leg. It instantly swelled and the next morning was lightly bruised all around the pinky toe and theres about a golf ball sized bruise from the toe to the middle of my foot. I cannot walk on it at all and if I walk on my heel it shoots pain up to the toe and I cant put a shoe on it at all either. It feels like the bottom of my foot under those toes is numb and theres only sharp pain when I accidentally touch it or something moves the wrong way. Do you think this is a possible break or maybe a sprain? Thanks so much! Great website!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Laura,

      Could be a break or severe sprain. Treat it immediately with R.I.C.E. principles and see if the swelling goes down. If there’s still a noticeable misshapen lump within 48 hours it’s likely a break. A sprain can be mended much more quickly but a break may require some professional attention. If you’re not sure and want security, visit a doctor or hospital for an x-ray. The amount of pain you described is likely indicative of a break so seeing a podiatrist or doctor may be required if you don’t want to buddy-wrap or treat the toe yourself. Glad you like the website ;) .

      ToeDoc

  • Kathy says:

    I broke my toe next to my pinky toe on 12/24/09 but it continues to cause pain when walking. It was initially a spiral fracture but a week later I stepped on a toy and the fracture was completely across the original fracture point. I can’t walk or stand for any length of time without the outside of my right foot becoming numb. I believe when I broke the toe (on a door frame) that it pushed the bone down and over to the outside toward my little toe. It feels as though the bone on the ball of my foot is out of place compared to the other toes on that foot as if it is taking all the pressure when I’m on it. I know that it has been over two years but I honestly think it may have either healed incorrectly or is out of place. Compared to the toe on my left foot, the broken one has a floppy tip after the last knuckle, it is not discolored but there are noticeable small veins that appeared on the top of my foot in the proximity of this toe. Any information is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kathy,

      For a two year old injury, seeing a doctor or specialist is crucial. The toe may require special attention or need to be re-broken in order to heal correctly. The multiple injuries and the potential of an incorrectly healed joint will need to be x-rayed. Ask your doctor for next steps on what to do in this situation.

      ToeDoc

  • Mel says:

    Hi Toe Doc!
    Thanks for the tips! I have a question though. On my right foot, my second toe (next to the big toe) has been giving me pain for the last 24 hours. I didnt stub my toe or anything that I would notice ive done wrong to it lol but when I walk/sit it doesnt hurt unless I specifically bend/tense up the toe itself. It is slightly swollen (when compared to my left foot, same toe), it appeared only slightly discolored & tender and is not bent or twisted any type of way and, in fact, other than the swelling looks fine. Does this to you sound like a sprain? If so could I get away with R.I.C.E & taping and have it heal perfectly well? THANKS! Love your site!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mel,

      Glad you’re finding the site is a helpful resource. As for your injury it’s tough to tell as there was not initial trauma to determine the source of the pain. If you engage in any activities that continually put pressure on the toe then the discomfort you’re experiencing may be a stress fracture or pain as a result of continual pressure on the foot. Ice may help but more likely rest is the most important thing. Try some gentle toe stretching exercises to see what specially triggers the pain (you may have just slept on it funny). There’s a slim chance that the pain be developing arthritis or toe gout but if it goes away in the next couple of weeks with no attention then there’s little cause to worry, if the pain is persistent you may want to check in further. For the time being, try some ice and rest the toe. Use a few stretching exercises and see how the toe feels over the next week.

      ToeDoc

  • Marian says:

    I had a 40 pound tub of cat litter fall on my big toe a few days ago. There is bruising on both sides of the foot and walking on it is painful but I can easily bend/move the toe. A blood blister just below the nail (the size of a quarter) has been drained twice and continues to seep, I suspect because of the friction of house shoes – I have to wear something…. The nail is turning opaque. I am elevating, using ice and taking ibuprofin for pain. Does the blood blister or other symptoms suggest a doctor visit? Thanks..

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Marian,

      I doubt the toe is broken. It’s likely just swollen and bruised and the blood blister has developed as a result of the impact. Keep icing the toe and eliminating any friction or irritation to the damaged the area. A doctor visit is probably unnecessary if you use caution.

      ToeDoc

  • Marti Murphy says:

    Just left dr. Had pin removed from second toe that was going under great toe (that I had implant put in a year earlier because cartilage was gone).
    5 days before pin removal foot began hurting, toe swelled and turned even more red. I couldn’t put weight on the foot anymore and had constant burning crushing pain.
    Dr said the pin had broken off but shouldn’t cause a problem as the other part was imbedded in the foot. He gave me antibiotics for swelling and possible infection and said should get better. ???? What is your impression? I don’t know why that leaves me feeling like there is more.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Marti,

      Many people with pins or rods in their body operate with little or no problem. If the doctor says it’s not going to be a problem then for the time being you should follow his advice. If you notice significant pain or side effects over the next two weeks get, see your doctor.

      ToeDoc

      • Marti Murphy says:

        I had surgery on dec 16 th and until 5 days ago was able to get around with minor discomfort. Had the pin out yesterday and thought that may help. Woke this morning and I can’t put weight on my foot at all. The base of my big toe, second toe and the foot all across under my toes is swollen and my second toe where the pin was removed feels like it will explode with my foot dangling down, even when sitting. And I’m short so my feet don’t touch the ground in most chairs. I am so scared! My grocery list gets longer, my house gets dirtier and I’m becoming frantic with worry. The pain is incredible (and I’ve had kidney stones, hysterectomy, implants in both feet) but I was always able to walk.
        I’m so sorry for asking you again what is causing this but I don’t know what to do.

  • Toe Doc says:

    Hi Marti,

    Your situation sounds dire but again I’m not your doctor so the best I can prescribe is advice. Any body part will react to significant change such as the removal of a metal pin. Swelling, pain and discomfort are normal side effects when change happens in the body. If you’re truly worried about your well being talk to a friend or family member and have them assist you in daily activities.

    In the short term many injuries seem more serious than they really are. I’m not doubting your pain or situation, but unless you’ve tweaked something in the toe you are on the road to recovery. The fact that you waited five days before any pain is curious however. The combination of the kidney stones, hysterectomy and implant may have put an unusual amount of stress and tension on the body which can caused delayed healing and side effects.

    Rest and following the doctor’s orders is the best step here. If the pain mounts or refuses to go away, explain the gravity of the situation do your doctor and seek medical help at a hospital or from a specialist.

    ToeDoc

  • Mary says:

    I broke my toe a little over a week ago. I went to the hospital then followed with the doctor. They told me to buddy wrap it and put me in a boot. The pain is not getting better. when it is not tingling it is burning. The burning sensation is going up into my foot. I elevate it, ice it and try to use it minimal but it is not getting better at all. I know it takes a while for a toe to heal but should it feel worse before it feels better? I have a high pain tolerence and yet the pain puts me in tears!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mary,

      Try taking the boot off and entirely resting the toe. Elevating the foot and giving it room to relax while buddy-wrapped and help alleviate some of the pressure. The fact of the matter is that broken toes are painful. The joint is mending itself. Try some NSAIDs or ibuprofen if the pain bothers you, but always make sure you’re treating the toe as the number one priority. Broken joints are extremely tender and react to any sort of touch.

      ToeDoc

  • Kimmily says:

    Hi MARTI,
    I stumbled an had my big toe hurt really bad, the feeling was numb, cold and touch was a bit painful too. the pain persisted for several days an even weeks. its been approximately around 5 weeks already an now the pain is still slight. i dont kno what to do if i should vist a doctor or jus leave it an the pain would go away eventually.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kimmily,

      It sounds like the pain has decreased. If the swelling, bruising and inflammation has radically diminished as well it’s safe to say you’re on the road to recovery. If the toe was broken than slight pain would be normal at this stage. If the toe appears misaligned than something may have to be done. Check back in two weeks to see if the pain is completely gone. R.I.C.E. treatment, even at this stage can never hurt!

      ToeDoc

  • Keeana says:

    My mom broke her toe messing around, she didn’t get it medically treated by a doctor just let it heal naturally. After a few weeks of this naturally healing process, her toe is now bent and she cannot move it, and it still hurts her to walk on it. One question is, if the doctors have to rebreak the toe, they can’t give her numbing medicine can they? Should she get medical attention? I read during the beginning of the article and it said something about inproper healing, and that it was rare. I feel her toe did heal improperly considering it is bent and after several weeks she still cannot move it. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Keeana,

      If the toe is now bent at an odd angle and is stuck that way, there’s a chance the toe has healed incorrectly which may require re-breaking. Freezing or anesthesia depends on the level of operation. If she’s concerned about the way her toe is looking, see a podiatrist for a review. Different degrees of bends can indicate different injury and healing phases. A slight bend may be a minor bump on the natural road to recovery whereas a major twist is something that needs to be looked at. Analyze how severe the toe looks and decide whether professional intervention is necessary, remember it’s always better to choose safety over danger.

      ToeDoc

  • Tabatha Desmarais says:

    My 12 year old was jacking around at boxing practice last night jumping over mats. He landed odd on his foot and rolled his big toe. He has pain with walking. We iced elevation and NSAID given. This morning the is mild bruising at the base of the toe, with pin point pain. I am relatively certain it is broken. My question is should we treat at home or seek medical attention. If at home does buddy taping work on a big toe? Thank you, Tabatha

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tabatha,

      If you want to err on the safe side, visit a doctor. However the treatment and attention you’ve given the toe so far sounds excellent and 12 year olds can heal quite quickly. If you’re able to buddy wrap the toe and limit activity while the foot is healing than home treatment may be the easier alternative. Mild bruising may mean the toe is not broken, maybe only fractured which is minor. Check if the pain recedes within the week and the foot can start to be used normally. If there’s no apparent recovery taking place, see a doctor.

      ToeDoc

  • Mpb says:

    About a. Week ago I slammed my foot into the bedroom door- my ring toe ( next to mt pinkie toe) hurt- but hurts more now. It is bruised on the back of my toe- not really swollen- but really hurts with certain shoes-
    Mike

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mike,

      It sounds simply like a jammed toe. The bruising and swelling is natural after a minor injury. Give it a week or so to heal, if there’s still some residual pain after that time you may want to check for a hairline fracture however the most likely scenario is that the bruising and swelling will decrease and you’ll be able to resume use of the foot in the next two weeks, ice will also help.

      ToeDoc

  • Lorraine says:

    Hi Doc, I stubbed my pinkie toe on my bed base this morning, it’s swollen and a bit bruised at the first joint. I’m able to move it sideways, I guess would be the best way to describe it, but not able to curl it like normal. Is it just sprain or anything worse?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      It sounds more like a jammed joint. Apply R.I.C.E. treatment and see if the toe improves over the next week. Keep weight off the toe as much as possible. If after seven days the toe has not improved whatsoever it may be worth the time to get an x-ray or visit a local GP.

      ToeDoc

  • KR says:

    Hi, I tripped over a toy and landed on my big toe turned under in mid December. I went to the doctor two weeks after it happened and the toe is broken above the joint closest to the toe nail. I have been taping it so the joint cannot bend and wearing stiff sole shoes for 3 weeks now. The pain is not any better. The doctor says to continue what I am doing for another 4 weeks. My question is after 3 weeks of taping the toe and wearing stiff sole shoes that are open on the top (i’m wearing sandals) should I be seeing improvement in the pain yet? It still hurts to touch the joint area at all. I am resting it as much as I can. Thanks for your time!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi KR,

      Broken toes can be major or minor and this case if the injury is taking a long time to recover it’s likely a more serious injury. Follow your doctors advice, I wouldn’t recommend deviating from the set pattern for now. If in four weeks there are still no improvements it may be time to seek alternative therapies.

      ToeDoc

  • Paula says:

    Hi, I broke my baby toe in June 2010 it took approx 3 months to heal but now I am left with inflamation ,there is still slight visible swelling. If I am exercising or walking on it too much it becomes hot and throbs, it never feels quite the same as my other toe. I was referred to a foot specialist who offered me steroid injections ,I declined after he told me the side effects, but I am very keen to find another solution. Can you help?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Paula,

      Dietary changes that lower inflammation may help out. Looking into alternative therapies such as acupuncture (or acupressure), bowen therapy and active release can also help alleviate some of the symptoms. Sometimes chiropodists can also help in these situations. It’s up to you to try out some other methods and see which one works best for you. The above are some suggestions that patients have had success with in the past.

      ToeDoc

  • sandy says:

    I bashed my right foot into a hard surface during Christmas. It’s been painful to walk when pressure on the front of my foot and the middle toe is at a weird angle and the second two is painful to touch on top. I’ve tried the buddy system and the toe is still at the weird angle when I change the tape. It’s been well over 4 weeks now, although the first few steps are fine, I still have paid when I walk. Any suggestions or should I go see a doctor?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Sandy,

      If the toe is at a weird angle when being buddy wrapped then the toe is not getting the proper treatment it should be. Buddy wrapping the toe requires the toe to be straight, if this is too painful, visit a doctor to get an analysis.

      ToeDoc

  • Kristi says:

    Over a year ago I hit my pinkie toe against the couch. Though I didn’t have it x-rayed a friend who is a doctor looked at it and thought it was broken. I was careful and it seemed to heal well. Then six months later this past May, I hit the same toe against a concrete block and definitely broke it. I had it x-rayed and a doctor confirmed it. He didn’t suggest any special treatment other than being careful with it. However, since then I have occasionally bumped it causing me extreme pain. I have been trying to wear supportive shoes, but can’t always do that in the house. Today 9 months since I broke it, I bumped it against a soft cushion it caused me shooting pains up my foot. What is going on? Do I need to see a doctor? Is this normal to still have this kind of pain? Thanks for your help.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kristi,

      Based on your symptoms it sounds like the toe never really healed properly. In the two months after a broken toe you need to be quite cautious with that foot. The toe will heal even if you are not but it it may not heal correctly and it takes much longer. Bumping it against a cushion likely triggered pain due to the fact that the toe is still quite tender. Work on rehabilitating the toe and gently stretching and massaging it to get it back into its normal function. Although the toe is a small joint, like any injury it needs proper care and treatment for recovery. Work on slowly strengthening the toe until its fully recovered. This may include some therapeutic approaches as well as exercises.

      ToeDoc

  • Martin says:

    Hi ToeDoc,

    I was told at the hospital that I had broken my big toe after I came of my bike. They tied it up not in a toe buddy fashion but differently. I brought some plaster tape but was unsure how the doctor did it. It looks like it’s been rapped round my big toe first and then around the whole part of my foot where the toes join. I would ideally like to wash my foot but unsure if I should take it of at all. What would you recommend?

    I would also like to drive my car again. I broke it almost a week ago but if I keep the big toe area of my foot clear of the pedals I shouldn’t think it would be a problem, or should I stay away from driving all together?

    Thanks,
    Martin.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Martin,

      If you can, visit the doctor or the location where you got your toe originally taped. If they wrapped is a specific way in the first place there was likely a good reason for it. Driving should be okay as long as you’re very careful about foot placement. Even minor bumps or jolts to the foot can cause severe pain and potential displacement of the toe joint. Use your best judgement and proceed with caution when using the foot with the broken toe.

      ToeDoc

  • kyle says:

    hi over a year and a half ago i jumped from a window and landed on my big toe i went to the local clinic i told the nurse what happed and she told me that i spraned it they applyed creams ecc .i never took an x ray coz i listend to tham and know i cant bend my toe normaly its very stiff and sometimes it hurts sometimes it doesnt i can i rebreak it again . sry for the speeling

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kyle,

      If it’s been a year and a half then likely the toe will require some surgical intervention if the movement is really limited. You may want to try some gentle stretching or rehabilitation exercises that help bring movement into the toe. If these don’t help than visit a doctor to get further instruction.

      ToeDoc

  • Sarah says:

    I broke my fourth toe on my left foot on July 31, 2011. It has now been about 6.5 months. I broke it by stubbing it really hard underneath a door. I went to see both an orthopaedic doctor and a podiatrist. They both say the same thing. It broke all the way across, but it is lined up to heal perfectly. Xrays showed that it finally started to show slight healing in December, and they do not want to xray again until March because I’ve already had 4-5 xrays during this time. My toe is still sore, and I can tell that it is not healed yet. The doctor said I don’t need surgery and just continue giving it more time because a toe is farthest from the heart so it gets the least blood flow. Also, they checked my calcium and vitamin D levels since it is taking so long for it to heal. I’m only 27 years old, so the slow healing isn’t due to my age either. The results of the calcium and vitamin D test came back normal. The doctor wants me to start doing some light elliptical training. I ran daily before this happened, but have not been able to exercise since. The podiatrist and orthopaedic doctor continue to just say give it more time because it’s slowly healing. Why could it be taking this long, and is there anything else I can do to help speed up the process? I try to stay off of it as much as possible, but there’s only so much of that I can do when having to walk on a daily basis. Also, my toe seems to tingle more often now, and the doctor said that is normal, but does this mean it might be healing, or is this just due to the broken bone? Any advice or information that you have would be very helpful. Thank you.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Sarah,

      If the toe is broken all the way across it will take longer to heal because it doesn’t have a foundation to build upon. Imagine trying to breaking a stick in half. Sometimes it cleanly breaks but if the branch is supple the break is less clean and there is still a connection for a more rapid style of healing. The tingling is likely due to increased focus on the toe. Body parts that we consciously focus on will naturally draw more awareness, unfortunately we cannot exactly determine the cause of the tingle, but that’s the most educated guess. As for the healing time, gentle elliptical training or other mild sports such as swimming can help strengthen the muscles around the toe and start working movement back into the joint. Try what works for you but make sure not to over burden the joint.

      ToeDoc

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you for the excellent information. This definitely makes sense. I wasn’t sure on your thoughts regarding the length of time for my toe healing. I wanted to ask you this since my next xray is coming up very soon (on March 21st). Is it unusual for a toe to take this long to heal since I broke it July 31? I’m hoping that it is healing more, but it is still as sore as it was when I had it xrayed in January. Of course I have had it buddy taped to my adjacent toe every day since the day I broke it. If it hasn’t healed within 8 months, do you have any suggestions on what I should do? Do you think surgery is needed, and what is the prognosis and healing time if I do need surgery? I am hoping for good news at my next podiatrist appointment, but I also want to know what may be recommended if the toe still shows little healing. Is it better to continue to wait, or is some type of surgery likely to be needed? Any additional information that you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

  • mike says:

    hi, i have a problem with severve pain in my toe next to the pinky toe. on my left side. i can be walking and all is good then out of nowhere it starts to hurt badly. whats odd is when it is hurting i can actually grab it, pull it, bend it and anything else u can think of and the pain stays the same. it comes and goes but is very painful when it appears. i have no clue what it may be. i dont recall ever hurting this particular toe but i am 50 so who knows. it just seems odd that all the sudden it has started acting up. its not swelled up and there is no redness or wounds. can you possibly comment on what it may be. im puzzled. sometimes i can walk do to the pain but like i said…once it starts hurting it doesnt stop for a few hours and then like a lite switch…its gone til the next time. any ideas ?????

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mike,

      It’s unlikely the toe is sprained, broken or dislocated. The more likely scenarios are that it’s either an old injury flaring up, or the early signs of toe arthritis or toe gout. If you catch these symptoms early you can often delay the onset of future problems by taking preventative action. There may be no reason to be alarmed, but if you recognize other symptoms on the above pages than it may be time to visit a doctor or make some lifestyle changes that can stop problems from occurring down the line.

      ToeDoc

  • Claire says:

    After several breaks to my little toe, the doctor suggested amputation. I am now 10 week post operative. My foot is very swollen and I am unable to tolerate the wearing of normal shoes. I can wear a pair of large slipper like boots that are 3 sizes bigger than usual but I am experiencing pain to my foot whilst wearing these and whilst walking generally. Is this normal?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Claire,

      It is common for the foot to react to the surgery. If the swelling doesn’t decrease or signs of increased discomfort than you may want to investigate further. Check with the doctor who did the amputation. He or she should have access to your past medical records and be able to make an assessment about whether your recovery is proceeding correctly.

      ToeDoc

  • Amber says:

    Two days ago I fractured my toe. I went to the ER immediately and it was diagnosed. However since coming home from the ER my toes has become blue/grey in color and partly up the foot. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Amber,

      Have you lost feeling across the foot? If so then there’s cause to be concerned. If the skin starts to look dead, damp, overly wrinkled or distinctly “un-skinlike” than you should revisit the ER immediately. However if the the blue-grey is simply the bruising than it’s likely just part of the reaction of fracturing the toe and will diminish with time.

      ToeDoc

  • Tim says:

    14 yr old daughter was diagnosed via xray of a “slight” break in her pinky toe. Doctor said to buddy tape the toe and she’s fine to continue playing soccer and that it should be healed in 3 weeks. However, they prescibed a shoe for her to wear to keep from putting weight or bending her toes when walking. The prescibed shoe seems to conflict with the okay to play soccer and her toe is causing a significant amount of pain right now. We, and she, does not want to miss any more soccer than she needs to but we don’t want to make it worse. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tim,

      Try to pinpoint what is causing the pain. Is it the shoes, or the activity of playing soccer? Can she still receive the same benefits of the buddy wrap while not using the shoes and playing soccer? Or does she have to avoid soccer in order for the toe to heal? Whatever the case may be, find the element that’s causing the pain. I understand she wants to avoid as much time away from soccer as possible. Ask the doctor if the shoes have to be worn or if she can wear a different pair for soccer. If she has to take time off, make sure it’s completely resting time or activity that has no influence on the toe’s recovery whatsoever. You want to avoid re-injury or delayed healing by trying to walk both roads at once.

      ToeDoc

  • Haley says:

    Hey!
    Okay so I injured my second toe about 6 weeks ago playing on my XBOX and I went to jump and when I landed my toes were curled under and it hurt EXTREMELY badly. I went to my school nurse and she said theres a chance it might be broken. So I’ve been buddy taping it for about 5 weeks and it’s gotten no better. It hurts to walk and I can’t fully bend my toe. Do you have any advice???

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Haley,

      If you truly suspect the toe is broken you may want to visit a doctor for an x-ray. If there’s been no improvement at all over 5 weeks it’s important that you rest the toe or see a professional who can tell you what’s going on. Depending on the level of pain the toe may not be broken but only fractured. If you’re walking around on it you’re likely delaying the healing process which in turn is causing the increased pain.

      ToeDoc

  • Krista Adams says:

    About a week a go I walked into a plastic bin full of water jamming my pinkie toe very hard. Immediately it swelled and then turned black and blue. It was sore, but I could walk and wear sneakers fairly comfortably. The discoloration subsided after 5 days or so, swelling almost went away, and I was pretty much unaware of my toe. After a shower today, I was drying between my 4th & 5th toe and heard my pinkie toe snap and it bent outward. Did I pop it out of joint or break it? It’s sore to the touch on the base where the “webbing” begins. I can flex and rotate the toe and don’t think there’s any additional swelling other than what was still there from the initial blow last week. It’s Saturday otherwise I would call my doc. Thank you kindly for any input.

    • Krista Adams says:

      Additional input to my comment @ 4:21 2/18: I thought this was significant enough to add to my initial post. The black and blue I mention above, that resulted from my initial injury, was at the base of my pinkie toe where the “webbing” begins. So with yesterday’s snapping/cracking incident in the same place, this particular area of my toe has now suffered 2 injuries.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Krista,

      How much pain was there during the “snapping” moment? If it was minor, it’s likely only a dislocation. If there was quite severe pain, it’s more likely a break, however based on the story you’ve written it sounds like an unlikely scenario for a broken joint. It sounds like the original stubbing may have put the toe on the brink of a dislocation and drying between the toes pushed the toe over the edge and actually dislocated the joint.

      ToeDoc

  • Kimberly says:

    Hi there,
    About 2, maybe 3, weeks ago I dropped a book on my pinky toe. Today, it is still a bit swollen, has some bruising, hurts with certain shoes, and does not have the same radius of movement as my other pinky toe. Is it worth it to go and get x-rays? I don’t want to spend the money if I’m just going to have to buddy tape it. But, do you think there’s something more since there’s still symptoms after this long after the incident? Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kimberly,

      It sounds like you may have badly bruised the toe (depends how heavy the book was). I’d recommend you apply R.I.C.E. treatment and see if that improves the injury over the next few days. If there’s one particular pinpointed location that causes the pain then you may want to get an x-ray if the pain persists over the next two weeks.

      ToeDoc

  • Steve says:

    Hi ToeDoc

    I was training (thai boxing) when i had turned and twisted my big toe, the pain was very intense immediately and the next day however has subdued since. This was around 6 weeks ago, the pain has gone unless i try to bend the toe, i know these things take time however my question is if the toes was broken or twisted would it effect the normal range of movement as the joint nearest to the nail only seems to flex half way in comparison to my other foot, could this mean it is actually dislocated as apposed to broken?

    Thankyou for you help

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Steve,

      Dislocated toes are usually pretty distinctive due to the fact that the toe is generally visibly out of place and can be ‘popped’ back into place. Likely you’ve lightly sprained the toe which limits movement as the toe is healing. The inflammation caused by the sprain makes the toe tougher to move. The range of movement can be increased by rehabilitation exercises.

      ToeDoc

      • Steve says:

        Hi again ToeDoc

        Thank you for your swift reply, what you say makes sense. As you suggest it may be a sprain which would make sense as to how i injured the toe, would you have a rough idea as too how long it may take to gain full range of movement again? Thank you againg great site and very informative : )

        • Toe Doc says:

          Hi Steve,

          Unfortunately we can’t provide an exact estimate, but based on the fact that you’re already showing signs of recovery it should be shorter than usual. Additionally; athletes tend to recover faster than typical patients. Apply R.I.C.E. treatment for 20 minute periods and gently flex the toe to monitor pain and increased range of movement. It’s likely your toe could be usable within a week and completely healed within two to three weeks. Just remember to use caution as you enter back into thai boxing or any other vigorous activity.

          ToeDoc
          Help us out by +1 or liking our site! :)

  • Nic says:

    Hi ToeDoc, about 3 weeks ago I tripped at the park & landed on the end of a broken stick underneath my second toe (next to big toe; I was wearing thongs) & doubled my toe over. I cut my toe in the webbing & underneath the ball of the toe. It hurt a lot at the time, was bruised & swollen for a few days but was ok to walk on so I didn’t think too much of it. After finishing some yard chores in thongs, last night, the same toe started to hurt. The pain was so excruciating I thought I may have been bitten by a spider. My husband moved my toe to check it for a bite & I passed out. That’s never happened before. I didn’t think it was related to tripping 3 weeks ago but now I’m not sure. Today the pain is less & there’s hardly any redness or swelling but I can’t put pressure on the toe/walk on it or move it without pain. Is it broken or just a bad sprain? Should I have it x-rayed or just see how it goes? Thanks for your help. Regards, Nic

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Nic,

      Based on your story it’s hard to determine if the toe was broken or sprained by the story as the main injury appeared to be to the webbing between the toes. The initial injury sounds like a bad sprain but the fact that it’s been three weeks may indicate there’s something more serious going on, perhaps a variation of turf toe. See a doctor and get the toe x-rayed to be sure, you’ll also be able to check the state of the toe webbing as well.

      ToeDoc

  • tiffany says:

    hi the other day i had a 5lb weight fall 2 feet onto my big to and its swollen my toe is red and bruised all over i cant walk on it and when im at work have to walk on the side of my foot so im not putting pressure on it i can wiggle it up and down with no pain but any pressure at all send me aggony around the top of my toe im not sure what to do cause its making work very difficult i think it may be broken

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      Dropping a weight like that on your foot definitely has a potential to break the bone. Apply R.I.C.E. treatment as soon as possible and see a doctor to get the toe x-rayed. Expect swelling, redness and bruising and be prepared to treat a cracked nail if the weight fell on the nail part of the toe.

      ToeDoc

  • Elizabeth Lynch says:

    I dropped a 17″ lap top computer on my big toe two weeks ago. I did not seek medical help, but now I am wondering if I should. It did swell-dis colored and etc. But now I still have pain even when not using it. Right below the nail , it is still red and swelled up. That is also where the pain is. Ever thing is centraled to the front of the toe, below the nai. Red-swelled and pain….l

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      The toe sounds more like it is bruised and injured, not broken. For the time being ice the area and bandage it if necessary, it should recover within a few weeks.

      ToeDoc

  • May says:

    About a week and a half ago I kicked a chair (accidentally) and injured three of my toes. I thought I had just stubbed them, but after about an hour I was having trouble walking. There were dark purple bruises encircling them and I it hurt to bend or put any pressure on them. I have been doing RICE and buddy taping them, as well as taking nsaids. The bruising has faded and most of the initial swelling has subsided, but in the past few days I have noticed new bruising and knots forming. It has gotten more painful. Even though I don’t put any pressure directly on the toes when I walk, I get a tingling sensation on the ball of my foot radiating up into the toes when I take a step. Also, the injured foot has a purplish cast to it.

    I have no insurance and cannot afford to go to a clinic just to find out this is typical. On the other hand, I cannot afford to let it become a major medical problem. Based on my symptoms, do you think this will require a doctor’s care, or should I continue treating it at home?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi May,

      The new bruising is unusual, but there’s sometimes secondary internal bruising that doesn’t show for some time. If this is the fact or not it does mean the injury is serious. If the symptoms persist for another week with no signs of improvement we’d advise seeing a doctor. For now keep as much weight off the foot as possible and apply R.I.C.E. treatment regularly. It’s important that you take the best care of your foot possible if you’re not planning on visiting a doctor. Gently test out what causes discomfort in the region and avoid moves that cause any flare ups. Again, if there is no improvement, visit a local GP.

      ToeDoc
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  • Daniel says:

    Hello,
    Three weeks ago today I stubbed my left little toe. After it happened, I looked down and noticed it was bent up and out to the right. It was very painful and I couldn’t move it. Later that day, I managed to move it somewhat straight, buddy-taped it, and used the RICE treatment.
    I was seen last week and had an x-ray done. I was told I had a diagonal break in the second bone down. I’m using one of those fracture shoes. When I shower, I have been taking the tape off to clean and then reapplying new tape. When I do that, the toe will drift and lift up. I’m not sure if taking the tape off is a good idea or not.
    Currently, my toe will remain suspended off the ground with I put my foot flat on the ground. Additionally, my toe is still “loose.” I wonder if that has to do with torn ligaments / tendons.
    I have not yet received a follow-up call from the doctor, so I am planning on calling back on Monday.
    I guess my main concerns are if I should not take the tape off in the shower and why does the toe drift and feel loose? Will it heal back to where it was and not feel loose?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Try leaving the tape on and protecting the foot with a plastic bag and rubber band if you an (the joint alone would be the best. Clean the toe area carefully but try to retain the buddy wrapping of the toe. It’s not the end of the world of the toe is loose for 10 minutes if the other 23 hours and 50 minutes the toe is buddy wrapped, but consistency is better. If your doctor has prescribe any alternate advice, follow that as he or she has more information about the injury.

      ToeDoc
      Help us out by +1 or liking our site! :)

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