Sprained Toe

Toe Pain Symptoms

Broken vs Sprained ToeOne of the most important steps in identifying an injury is making sure that you identify it correctly. Today we’re going to be covering the differences between broken toe symptoms and sprained toe symptoms as knowing the steps to properly label an injury is very useful. A misdiagnoses can often cause additional harm on top of the original trauma. A toe sprain and a broken toe might be less at risk for such negative consequences but when infection and toe injury complications get involved there can be severe repercussions.

The best way to tell the difference between a sprained toe and a broken toe is to list the most common symptoms of each and then pick the defining characteristics that stand out for each particular injury.

Broken Toe Symptoms
Stiffness and difficulty moving the toe
Tenderness and swelling
Burning or tingling sensations
Sprained Toe Symptoms
Pain while moving the toe
Limited toe joint motion
Tenderness and swelling
Throbbing sensations

As you can see the symptoms are actually fairly similar. This can be a problem, especially coupled with the fact that everyone’s subjective experience of the injury and pain threshold is different. What we need to do now is highlight some key differences that will help you determine if the toe is broken and requires treatment.

By comparing the two lists we can see that bleeding is more commonly one of the symptoms of a broken toe (provided the toe was bleeding from the trauma, not from a cut). We also notice that there is pain while moving the sprained toe, but there is usually trouble moving the toe at all if its broken. This means that if you still have mobility in the toe (however painful), it is likely it is only sprained. Overall the sprained toe symptoms appear less serious than those of a broken toe.

An additional step we can take is to point out of some clear indicators that the toe is broken. Any bone protrusion, also known as an open fracture is a clear symptom of a broken toe. Extensive bleeding or the development of a subungual hematoma often means the toe is broken to some degree. If the person experiencing the broken toe appears disoriented or confused or even loses conscious it is likely the toe pain is indicative of a severe injury.

We always recommend you see a toe doctor or medical professional in the event you suspect you have a broken or sprained toe. The more severe toe injuries may require a hospital visit whereas many less significant versions should be treated as soon as possible but may not be life threatening. The key is to look for the symptoms that highlight the difference between a broken and sprained toe. If the indications are that the wound is serious, immediate action should be taken.