One of the biggest risks with any sort of toe injury are the complications that can arise. Out of the many, many ways you can hurt your toes, there are even more things that can go wrong after the initial trauma has occurred. Below is a list of some of the most common complications that can arise of a toe injury.
If the wound from a toe injury is left open for too long or occurs in an unclean location you drastically increase your chances of contracting a toe infection. Toe infections can lead to a long list of diseases and can cause rashes, sores, swelling and other forms of skin irritations. It’s important to clean up any cuts the toe might have suffered with antibacterial solutions and keep the injured toe clean. Unclean and cramped shoes can also leads to the formation of corn on toe.
Toe Malunion or Nonunion
Malunion occurs when the the toe injury doesn’t heal properly. It’s usually associated with a fractured toe and means that the bone has healed in a less than optimal position which can indicate that the toe joint could be twisted, bent or out of place. Nonunions occur when the toe doesn’t heal fully. It could be the result of a limited blood supply or lack of nutrients but the problem is that the bone tissue fails to heal and may require medical intervention.
Often related to a broken toe, subungual hematoma occurs when blood begins to pool underneath the toenail. This most commonly affects the big toe joint as the nail is the largest and the toe is most prone to injury. Removing of a subungual hematoma either requires a doctor to poke a hole in the nail and drain the fluid out or the removal of the entire nail to allow for healing.
Commonly a result of toe gout, tophi are small (or sometimes large) deposits of urate crystals caused by high levels of uric acid in the body. If you’ve contracted toe gout then tophi and chronic tophaceous gout can be a dangerous complication. These monosodium crystals build up in joints, cartilage and bones and usually require medical treatment. Chronic tophaceous gout treatment requires medication or toe surgery to eliminate some of the pain. The best method is to work toward prevention of both gout and tophi altogether.
Most complications of toe injuries can be prevented with proper vigilance and care. Taking the time and making the effort to ensure that any toe injury that happens is able to heals full is important. At the same time, following a healthy diet and getting exercise help to minimize the risk of toe gout, tophi and toe arthritis. Be aware and and make sure you’re taking steps to live a healthier, longer and pain free life.