Dislocated Toe Overview

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

Dislocated Toe in Brief



Having a dislocated toe is different than having a sprained toe or broken toe. The toe can sometimes be easily put back into place without an extended recovery period, although many of the symptoms are similar to a broken or sprained toe, treatment for dislocated toes can sometimes be quite rapid and have immediate results.

The toe joint pain caused by a dislocation often comes from direct or indirect impact to the injured area, however the injury can sometimes occur after a toe sprain. The toe is classified as dislocated when the bones are out of place and can sometimes appear visibly misaligned. Athletes are some of the most common victims of toe dislocations and often experience toe ligament injuries or tears accompanying the original injury.

After any toe pain one should aim to treat it as soon as possible. As previously mentioned, if the dislocation is treated quickly after the injury, the toe joint can sometimes be reset easily. If the toe has received no serious treatment after six hours, resetting the toe should wait until you are in the care of a medical professional, a podiatrist in particular.

 

Dislocated Toe Causes

Dislocated toes can arise from both major and minor injuries. Walking on even terrain, overloading pressure on one portion of the foot or direct trauma to the toe can all lead to a toe injury. All it takes is for a bone to slip out of place; even rolling the foot can put unnatural stress on a certain area o the toe leading to a dislocation.

Sports such as rugby, soccer, hockey and football have high number of players who face toe injuries, particularly dislocations. Turf toe is another common injury that athletes face when playing on harder surfaces which can put a lot of strain on one’s toes. Changing direction quickly or stopping and starting on a regular basis places an increased risk of toe joint pain, especially big toe joint pain. However in regards to dislocated toe injuries, the smaller toes are generally more likely to be dislocated whereas the larger toes are more likely to face more serious injuries.


Dislocated Toe Symptoms

Diagnosing dislocated toe symptoms can sometimes be complicated due to the fact the injury shares many similarities to that of a sprained toe or broken toe. The injury will likely be very painful at the time of dislocation and the injured person will experience intense pain when trying to move the injured digit to put pressure on the toe area.

Difficulty walking, swelling and bruising will occur after the injury as well as an overall tenderness in the damaged area. Removing socks and shoes could be a cautious process in order to prevent any unnecessary toe pain or additional harm on top of the original injury.

The toe can also be visibly deformed and sometimes clearly out of place which can be the toe easily distinguishable as dislocated. The bones in the toe might appear out of place or out of alignment. Numbness or toe paralysis can also occur if blood vessels or nerves are being pinched or pressured.

Take note if you notice any abnormal movement in the toe or the inability to move the toe at all as these could be the result of dislocated toe complications. Injury or harm to the toenail, foot or other toes are additional risks when the toe trauma occurs so check around the painful area to see if there are any other injuries that may be masked by the toe injury pain.


How to Treat a Dislocated Toe

Dislocated Toe Home Treatment



If you plan on treating your dislocated toe at home, the sooner you start the better especially if you plan on manipulating the injured toe back into its original position. Many tissues within the toe begin to lose their elasticity after an injury and if six hour have passed, no self adjustment should be attempted as more harm than good is likely to arise.

If the dislocated toe symptoms show an obvious crookedness in the knuckle or joint area of the injured toe, it is possible to correct the dislocation yourself. This will require you to gently pull or tug on the injured toe away from the foot. By pulling the toe away you are realigning the toe and hopefully allowing it to snap back into position. The manoeuvre can be painful but should be done quickly in one swift move to minimize damage or prolonged toe pain.

 

A dislocated toe being reset
If the toe remains straight as you adjust it, use tape and a thin piece of fabric or cotton between the injured toe and a neighbour to gently buddy tape the toe. Ensure that the toe does not lose circulation or that there is no great increase in pain after the tape has bee applied. If gently tugging on the toe doesn’t work or the toe does still not appear to be aligned after your own adjustment seeking medical treatment for your dislocated toe as soon as possible should be your next step.

Ensure you are keeping weight off the foot and toe area and following the home care steps of R.I.C.E. to continue treating the toe.

Rest: Having injured your toe, rest is one of the best steps to avoid toe joint pain. Walking, general movement, especially weight-bearing movement can have painful and harmful effects on any toe injuries. Aim to spend the least amount of time possible on your feet. If you’ve been able to readjust the toe back into position, resting is still a good idea to make sure that you don’t put any unnecessary stress on the toe or even re-injure the toe again.

Ice: Applying cold to the dislocated toe before or after the alignment will greatly reduce swelling and help alleviate some of the pain felt in the injured toe. Be careful not to put the ice directly on the toes as the minuscule blood vessels at the ends of your feet and spasm if subjected to very cold temperatures. Find a thin sheet of fabric to protect the skin and hold the ice (in the form of an icepack, frozen peas/corn or other) to the injured area with your hand or a lightly wrapped bandage.

The ice will reduce swelling and slow inflammation in the injured area. Be careful not to numb the toes and or confuse the effects of the ice with possible complications related to the injury. The ice should act as a blood vessel contractor the gently restricts circulation to the area of toe pain to reduce pain and then encourages a rush of nutrients as the vessel dilate after the ice is removed. Ice should be applied for periods of approximately 20 minutes every two or three hours for the initial days following the incident.

Compression: a medical band can be used to carefully wrap and apply pressure to the injured toe joint which will help to reduce swelling and limit movement. Even flexing your toes involuntarily can be painful with a toe dislocation and apply compression will aid in recovery. Remember that while toe compression can limit swelling, too much can delay the healing process by limiting blood supply.

Elevation: Boosting your injured toes up also helps to reduce the swelling and encourages the body to pump blood actively into the elevated area. If your dislocation is bothering you at any time elevating the area and limiting movement will likely reduce some of the symptoms as well as give your body a chance to focus on healing the injured area faster than it would with pressure or strain from use.

If there is no improvement in the toe pain after the adjustment or if the toe joint pain increases make sure you seek the assistance of a medical doctor or podiatrist. Toe injuries have the chance of getting worse or healing improperly which can lead to toe deformation and/or long term pain in and around the damaged area.


Dislocated Toe Medical Treatment

Getting immediate medical treatment if you are unable to realign the dislocated toe is imperative. A doctor will be able analyze the condition of the injured toe joint and be able to prescribe further treatment ranging from medication to icing to special foot protection. If the dislocation is severe or possibly related to a sprained toe or turf toe in any way, x-rays or MRI scans may be taken to determine if there is any other trauma.

Reduction or buddy taping is a common solution to a dislocated toe injury and if you are unsure of your own ability to rest the toe in its natural position you will without doubt want to seek the guidance of a medical professional.

After leaving the doctor, caring for the toe will involve rest and applying ice along with elevation. After 3 to 7 days, easy toe rehabilitation exercises or gentle use of the injured foot may be okay. Some exercises include:

Dislocated Toe Exercises

Vertical Toe Raise: Placing your hands between two solid positions at waist level as support, carefully lever weight onto the injured foot. Press into the ground the injured toes raising yourself away from the ground until the point of pain. Hold this position for five seconds while supporting yourself with your hands and then slowly release back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 12 times two to three times per day.
Horizontal Toe Press: Press your injured foot against a wall with the tip of toes just touching the wall. Place your injured leg behind you and place your hands on the wall for support. Carefully lever the toes onto the wall and slowly apply pressure downwards stretching your toes until the point of pain. Hold this position for five seconds while supporting yourself with your hands and then slowly release back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 12 times two to three times per day.
Vertical Toe Press: Placing your hands between two solid positions at waist level as support, carefully lever weight onto the injured foot. Curl the toes behind you and press into the ground the injured toes until the point of pain. Hold this position for five seconds while supporting yourself with your hands and then slowly release back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 12 times two to three times per day.

Remember to use caution when using the toe. Starting out gently with the least amount of pressure is important. With the time the toe will strengthen and not be as noticeable but it is still vital that you are careful not to stub the toe or risk causing harm to the recovering area. Any additional damage can delay the healing process or cause even greater impairment. If you plan on returning to a sport or participating in any exercise, buddy-tape the toe to a neighbour to prevent movement and limit the chances of re-injuring the toe.


Dislocated Toe Summary

Dislocated toes are not as serious as sprained toes or broken toes, but they are painful and certainly require immediate attention when the injury occurs. You can avoid dislocation by wearing well designed shoes that fit your feet and allow less room for sliding. Minimalist shoes are a great shoe which adapt to the foot, which allows for the natural freedom of movement to occur without risk of hammer toe or stress sprains.

Prevention is important, but so is handling the toe injury correctly. Ensure you seek medical attention if you are not confident enough to adjust the toe yourself or if there is severe discomfort after realignment. It is always better to be on the safe side when it comes to a body part that you need to walk correctly with.

When resuming and sports play or exercise, use caution and any methods that help limit future injury (which includes rest). Treat not only your toes, but your entire body with respect, especially as it is recovering.

 

157 Responses to Dislocated Toe

  • chris says:

    i dislocated my toe and went to doctors immediately they numbed it and put it back in place they said i had to wait 2 weeks before i started playing again it will be 2 weeks on thursday do u think its okay to play on after 2 weeks any cusion u recommed or anything ive been icing for the first week and now im heating it the swelling has almost completely went down and last is their and basketball shoe u reccomend with good toe protection because i dislocated by stubbing it into someones shoe i had the really light hyperfuses on

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Chris,

      One of the best things you can do is to lightly test the toe yourself. In the sprained toe section of your website we have several “toe rehabilitation exercises” that are designed to help increase movement and eliminate stiffness in the joint. Try gently putting pressure on the toe at various angles and stopping if the pain starts to mount.

      You’ve done an excellent job icing it and heating it and generally taking care of it and you will also be your own best judge. You may want to try a buddywrap or a light compression bandage that will tape two toes together and help prevent any impact to the toe. Try walking around with the shoes on and stretching the foot to test for any areas of weakness. If the toe is still quite painful and can’t stand pressure it would be best to keep the weight off and continue treatment. If you do find that you have most of not all your usual range of movement, it would likely be safe to engage in activity.

      Try some toe exercises and use your best judgement.

      Hope this helps,

      ToeDoc

    • Kristin says:

      Where can I find a good podiatrist in houston? I had bunion surgery 6 years ago and never got full strength back in my big toe and now the toe next to it has presdilocation syndrome. I got a contisone shot and special orthotics but it’s been 6 months and I’m still getting worse. The muscles in the toe have attrophied and something like walking barefoot in sand is a horrible experience. I need a doog doc who knows what to do because I like to run 5 miles a day and want to wear normal shoes again. Kristin in Houston, TX. I’ve tried Dr parker and Dr Blumfeld. (I probabaly need physical therapy?)

      • Toe Doc says:

        Hi Kristin,

        Unfortunately we can’t make any recommendations for podiatrists in Houston. Try asking around as local communities usually have recommendations.

        ToeDoc

  • debbie says:

    i fell in my garage about 4 months ago. i had socks and a good pair of leather shoes on at the time. my big toe on my left foot was the only injury. i was very surprised that my toe and the bottom of my foot was purple and swollen.could not move my toe. it was not real painful. i had no trouble putting on my socks and shoes or walking. i walk a lot at work. my toe has more flexibility now, but not complete. i also have pretty extreme pain now at the end of the day. should i consider going to an orthopedic or a podiatrist?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Judging by your symptoms and the fact that they’ve lasted four months, seeing a podiatrist is probably a smart step. Ideally injury recover should involve complete healing of the joint in question. You shouldn’t be ending the day in pain or lose flexibility. It is possible the joint is broken or fractured. If this is the case, it’s also likely the joint may have healed incorrectly which could be what is causing the pain. We always like to choose the safe side and seek medical attention, and in your situation I think four months of pain warrants an examination.

      ToeDoc

  • Trinny says:

    I have rather bad pain at the base of the pinky toe joint that shoots a lovely darling little pain all the way up into my ankle with the a normal walking movement… if I press on the outside bottom part of the foot, it does hurt, but doesn’t hurt my foot itself to stand on it unless it’s pressing on the toe… and I can’t buddy wrap because the joint of the pinky toe that hurts is about a half inch lower than the lowest joint of the toe next to it… any suggestions? I don’t have money to go to the doc, and no idea what happened to it (woke up to it in pain, no trauma to it) but mum and I have loose joints and hers used to dislocate all the time…

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Trinny,

      Interesting that the root cause is unknown. Usually the trauma is an excellent indicator of what actually happened to the toe. In your case the best thing to do would be to test the toe by not putting any weight on it for several days, or even a week to see if it gets better (avoid excessive walking, movement or activity). If there’s no improvement the injury could be a symptom a toe problem such as arthritis, but it’s unlikely the pain would onset that fast. Any other symptoms such as bruising, misalignment, or stiffness can help you identify the actual problem. You may also want to avoid high heeled shoes and other footwear that places stress on the toes or foot.

      In summary, try rest, look for further symptoms and gently try moving the toe in different ways to see exactly what causes the pain. If the toe doesn’t start to improve in week or the symptoms become more acute, the additional information will likely make the injury easier to identify.

      ToeDoc

  • Morgan says:

    I hit the foot of the bed 3 weeks ago with my left foot. The next to the last toe was traumaed by the hit. Once over the initial pain the toe was slightly pointing to the left. I did the RICE treatment, ibuprofen and the pain is much better but still swollen and painful to touch, on the tip of the toe and at the joint where is meets the foot. I can pull outward on the toe and this does feel good but no evident sensation of being out of joint. Sometimes there is a burning sensation…is this normal for this type of injury? I figured I jammed or sprained it and just letting time take its course. How long should I wait or what indicators should I look for to know if I should see a doctor?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Morgan,

      That burning sensation you’re describing is usually an indicator of a sprained or broken toe. Becuase the injury isn’t too bad I’m guess you’ve mildly sprained the toe joint and any additional pressure toward the toe likely causes pain. Depending on the severity of the sprain, toes cant take anywhere from a week to a month to heal from and may have some residual symptoms even after that time. One problem people often run into is that they continue to aggravate the injury and don’t give it time to recover. You did a great job by applying the RICE treatment, but it may still need some rest to recover more fully. If the pain lasts for another two weeks with no signs of improvement, seeing a doctor for an examination would be the next step. Right now the nerves in the toe are likely working to recover from the trauma. Anything that feels good and starts to add a little more movement to the toe is smart, often all it takes is some time.

      ToeDoc

  • Jamie Currie says:

    Hi Guys

    I suffered turf toe after a bad lading whilst paragliding and after a scan I was diagnosed that my a large toe (1st) joint that didn’t fit and never has and the injury has likely to have damaged the ligaments keeping it in place/stable .. sounds bizzare but my surgeon suggested removing the joint and mobilising the toe permanently – but – my GP whom has extensive experience in sports injuries advised on caution as it immobilising the toe could move the problem elsewhere due to problem with my hip or back – any advice

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Jamie,

      That is indeed an odd problem, especially due to the fact that the first joint was never correctly joined. It’s my suspicion that an earlier trauma (perhaps even unnoticed) might have caused this misalignment and possible weakened the surrounding tissues in that same joint. Either way one of the key things that is apparent is that you used the word may when describing the ligament harm. In this case there’s no point in jumping to any sort of conclusion, especially if you have two qualified doctors giving opposing pieces of advice.

      Remember the fact that turf toe is essentially a more severe version of a sprained toe and many sprained joints recover (not only toes). I would advise waiting a while to see how the toe progresses. Don’t use the injured foot, perhaps even use a cast or crutch if you have an active day to day life, but give the toe time to rest. After a week or so, or when the toe starts to feel better, try some very gentle lengthening and strengthening exercises. Try putting little bit of your body weight on the toe and then removing it, gently try and rehabilitate the joint back into working condition. Continue to do this until the toe feels better or reaches a point where it’s no longer improving.

      Many injuries recover; doctors are constantly surprised at the ability of patients to recover from injuries or problems that were initially diagnosed with low chances of any improvement. I would take your GP’s advice in this case. There’s little point in immediately jumping to the immobilization of a toe, especially your large toe. Treat it like the turf toe page recommends and then see how the joint feels in a week, two weeks and then a month. Once you’ve given your foot this opportunity to recover you and your doctors can make a better qualified decision on what the appropriate course of action will be.

      ToeDoc

  • Whitaker says:

    I stubbed my left big toe in a hole while running today. It’s been 5 hours and there is massive swelling but no bruises. I’m worried it might be dislocated, for the 1st knuckle from the ball of the foot is HUGE. Do you think it is broken, bruised, sprained, or dislocated. Also I can’t move it at all.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Whitaker,

      I hope you applied the R.I.C.E. treatment immediately after, that should help with some of the swelling and pain. Since it only happened five hours ago I’d wait before seeing a doctor to see if any of the symptoms subside. It’s challenging, especially with excessive swelling to tell whether the toe is broken, sprained or dislocated. Try waiting for 24 hours and check for any progress. During this time you should avoid any shoes, or pressure on the toe whatsoever. Keeping applying the R.I.C.E. treatment and carefully let the toe rest moving the foot as little as possible.

      If the symptoms are just as bad the following morning the toe is likely broken and requires the attention of a doctor. If the symptoms have decreased and there’s movement in the toe, you may have only sprained or dislocated it, both injuries can be treated at home and with time. Keep in mind that if the toe is particularly bruised, it may change colors over the night. Also if you start to experience long bouts of numbness or extreme pain, see a doctor as soon as possible. It’s always better to be safe in these situations.

      ToeDoc

  • kim says:

    Hi, 4 days ago I stubbed my toe (3rd on right foot) on a door , when I looked down it was almost at a 90 degree angle to the right! My husband attempted to relocate it (he’s done it several times with his profession) Then it was only slightly to the right so we iced it, taped it for 2 days but yesterday I decided to take the tape off. It still hurts pretty bad, though not as bad as the 1st day & I’m limping. Should I still be taping and icing it? Will it always be crooked? My husband seems to think it will pull itself back because it’s not healed. The bruising is gone now, still slightly swollen. I’m starting to be able to manually pull it back & forth at the base with minimal pain but not at the joint. Should I see a Dr? Everyone says they won’t do anything I haven’t already done….Thank you:)

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kim,

      The advice and adjustment you’ve gotten seem right on track. Your recovery is excellent if you’re already able to feel less pain and have the toe only slightly off center. Often some of the smaller ligaments and tendons in joint can tear if sprained or dislocated and these take some time to heal and may not end up perfectly straight. In cases where it’s a toe joint it’s usually relatively minor but other locations like knees are where you need to be more worried. If you’re able to move parts of the toe back and forth with minimal pain I would give the toe more time to rest. You’ve already made a great start to your recovery, don’t spend too much time adjusting or poking around in the toe area as that sort of irritation can aggravate the toe and delay the healing process. If you want to be safe, keep the toe taped up; this will help the joint to heal in better alignment. Your toe should feel much more normal within a couple days and probably a lot better in a week’s time, remember not to go too hard on it too fast.

      ToeDoc

  • kim says:

    Thank you so much for your quick response…much appreciated:)

  • Seth says:

    About 5 weeks ago I was playing soccer and was kicked hard in the toes by another player. My big toe and the middle of my right foot immediately behind my big toe was very sore for a few days but there was no discoloration or obvious break, so I soaked it in a bucket of cold water for a day and started to feel a bit better. After stabilizing, it remained a bit sore for another two weeks so I went and saw a podiatrist who took an x-ray and declared no break and then proceeded to point out longer term wear on my toe joint on the x-ray and recommended orthotics for long term care unrelated to my injury. I asked him to focus on the immediate injury and he said “oh yeah, I guess there is some swelling around the joint. Maybe stay off it for a week or two before playing sports again.” I was concerned since he didn’t spend any further time on it. It’s been three weeks and my big toe and the middle of my foot behind it still feel a bit sensitive and sore at times. Could there be lasting tendon or ligament damage that requires further attention? If I go and find an alternative podiatrist, is there anything he or she would prescribe other than further rest (boot, MRI, etc)? If I buddy tape my big toe, can I start playing sports again and just expect the rest of the healing to occur over time?

    Thanks
    Seth

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Seth,

      I can’t comment on the casual attitude of your doctor as I was not there, but if you are still experiencing toe pain it’s important to address it. The toe may not be broken but could have suffered a hard sprain in which case there might be some micro-tears in the ligaments or tendons. What’s important here is to monitor if the injury is getting better. You mentioned the big toe and middle of your foot feeling still sensitive, is this sign of improvement from pain? If so, keep letting the foot rest and recover, often poking around the injury leads to more aggravation rather than improved recovery.

      As far as lasting ligament damage goes, I’d be interested to see if the long term wear may be linked to the injury. Foot and toe injuries such as stress fractures occur over a period of time even if the actual fracture is an event. Excessive strain on your toe may be related to the injury if the impact was the final breaking point for weeks, months or years of accumulated stress. This is purely speculative and by no means should be taken as medical advice, but it is something to think about.

      If your toe and foot have been improving by letting them rest, continue to do so until you feel comfortable trying some toe flexing and curling exercises. Gently work on rehabilitating the toe back into athletic condition. I know it can be tough for athletes, but a full recovery is much preferred to re-injuring the toe. Buddy wrapping the big toe is generally not as effective as any of the smaller toes because it is stronger and will more likely still exert a dominant pull over it;s neighboring toe. Try and see if it helps. Orthotics may help as well, but it’s a personal decision and we cannot provide advice either way on the subject without a real world check up.

      ToeDoc

  • Irene says:

    Hi. I jammed my big toe into my board on a bad pop-up while surfing last week; it doesn’t really hurt, only a mild ache when I’m putting weight on it, but the knuckle is pushing up against the skin really obviously now in a way that it doesn’t on my other foot (like, it makes the skin over the knuckle white from the pressure of the bones/joint). If it hurt, I’d think it was dislocated from the looks of it, but since it doesn’t I’m confused. Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Irene,

      Your case is a strange one as that excessive swelling after an injury usually means that there are fluids built up in the injured area with other symptoms such as bruising, itchiness, numbness or tenderness, redness (as opposed to whiteness) , stiffness and pain. Another interesting factor is that it’s affecting your large toe; dislocations on some of the smaller toes can sometimes be ignored for significant periods of time, but big toe injuries usually have a much more obvious impact. You may have a high pain threshold and do have a dislocation, sometimes our bodies unconsciously avoid using injured joints and if you notice series pain if you try to use the toe there may be deeper problems. Try gently probing around the injury site to see if it becomes irritated or aggravated easily, if so see a podiatrist or doctor for an X-ray or have someone see if they can adjust your toe. If the pain is still minor, give the toe another weak to resume its past position before seeking professional attention if the symptoms don’t lessen.

      ToeDoc

  • Frank says:

    One week ago I stubbed my left pinky toe on the leg of a desk in the hotel room I was staying in for business. I’m fairly certain I dislocated it, because to my surprise when I look at it the toe was approximately at a 45 degree angle laterally. I pulled it back in place and “buddy taped” it to the next toe. Since I was traveling I did not seek medical attention (no time for it). Since then the bruising has diminished greatly and the swelling has diminished as well, but not to the same extent as the bruising. There is still some pain at the knuckle as well, but I am able to perform all of my normal daily functions, with the exception of running. I assume after this type of trauma it is still normal after only one week to still have some pain, a degree of swelling present and fading bruises? I read on another site it can take 4-6 weeks for the joint to completely head after this type of incident, sound about right? Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Frank,

      As I’m sure you’re probably tired of hearing; every injury is different and everybody heals at different rates. The toe does sound like it was dislocated and if you noticed a 45 degree angle, it was likely a higher grade dislocation which has a longer recovery period. There are many different quotes of recovery times but it looks like you’ve been doing your research. If the toe is still causing you significant pain or preventing you from participating in activities 60 days after the trauma, that would be the time to seek medical attention. For now, let the toe heal on its own and gently start using the foot as you’ve been doing.

      ToeDoc

  • Angela says:

    I was playing soccer (for fun, not in a game or anything) and i kicked the ball really hard with my toes curled, for some reason, and it hurt my right big toes knuckle (or base). The pain started half an hour later. I put ice on it about 5 hours later, because i didnt think it was that bad until i got home. I have no idea whats wrong with my toe, how long do you think it will take to heal?
    -Thanks,
    Angela

  • david says:

    While working in an odd position yesterday i injured my rt big toe where i cannot raise or lower it without intense pain. The toe looks slightly bent compared to the left one. Pulling seems to relieve it for a moment, but i can’t seem to reset it so i can move it normally. Is this toe dislocated or sprained? Painkillers dont help. Its been 12 hrs since the injury..
    Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi David,

      If the pain is very intense and the toe appears out of shape their may be a fracture, severe sprain or even a small break. Pulling on it can often relieve tension but if any movement results in extreme discomfort you may want to get the toe checked out. Look for any other outstanding symptoms such as swelling or discoloration. If the symptoms worsen over the next 12 hours it’s definitely time to see a doctor, if they start to improve, you may want to hold off. Try using ice and elevate the foot to minimize the pain and make sure you don’t put any strain on the foot at all. Check the symptoms again in 12 hours and then act accordingly.

      ToeDoc

  • Andrew says:

    I dislocated my toe playing Rugby a few weeks ago, i got stamped on and my right foot big toe dislocated in the direction of the smaller toes. I had it put back into place quickly and it was swollen for a while. Now 3 weeks later i’m walking fine and i can jog without pain however i can’t sprint yet or change direction quickly. I can bend the toe ok from the joint were it meets the foot but the joint half way down the toe still has very limited flexibility! Is there any exercise i should be doing to it or is it just a matter of time?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Exercises that help strength and lengthen the toe can be beneficial in the joint’s recovery but ensure that you don’t push yourself too hard. The reason being that the toe will still take time to heal. You want to just push the joint to it’s maximum capacity without any pain and then let it rest in order to recover. It is, as you put, mostly just a matter of time.

      ToeDoc

  • amanda says:

    i have been having pain in my left big toe for 2 days,and i dont recall injuring it at all. the toe is swollen, painful (there is more pain when i walk on it though), slight redness, snd its slightly out of place. i tried the rice method of pain relieve with no help for the pain. i also must add i am 29weeks pregnant

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Amanda,

      If you don’t recall injuring the toe and the pain seems to have stemmed internally then there’s a chance that it’s related to the pregnancy in some way. If the pain doesn’t subside within a few days or grows worse, seek assistance or advice from your doctor as to what to do. There’s a variety of smaller reasons the toe could hurt such as excessive strain on the feet and legs from increased weight as well as the fact that you’re carrying your body differently but there’s always the off chance it’s something more serious that may require further analysis. Stay vigilant and let your doctor know if the discomfort continues.

      ToeDoc

  • D~ says:

    Hello! a week and a half ago I slipped on a cat toy on the basement stairs and took quite a tumble. The whole top half of my left foot has been swollen and very bruised. I went in and had it x-rayed at the week mark, and they said my pinky toe had a hair line fracture but none of the other toes are broken. My pinky toe only hurts when I try to put it in my shoe or if I bang it on something as I move around. It’s my second toe that hurts so much. the swelling has gone down and the bruising is getting lighter, but the joint on that toe is killing me. I can’t hardly bend it and it almost feels like I am walking on a golf ball. the express care clinc that I went to thinks its all in my head……but it’s really in my toe!!! can’t figure out if its a dislocation or a jammed toe. any suggestions? would be greatly appreciated!!!!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi D-,

      Your toe injury sounds complicated due to the fact that it arose from a fall that injured your entire foot. If the toe hurts significantly it is possible that the initial x-ray was read incorrectly or there was a mistake made. However the fact that the pain is in your your second toe is not necessarily indicative that the toe is badly damaged. Although the sensation may appear in the toe, the injury might be elsewhere.

      Due to the nature of the incident and the fact that it’s been 10 days and the joint still hurts you may want to ask your doctor for some pain medication or NSAIDs. If you’re sure the toe is injured, explain the symptoms as clearly as possible and that you just want to be sure there is absolutely no damage.

      ToeDoc

  • Kathy says:

    Six weeks ago I injured my fourth toe (toe next to small toe) while walking barefoot in my house. It swelled and bruised immediately. I kept it iced that day. I have a high tolerance for pain so although it was swollen and bruised I did not worry about it too much. I kept walking and even went to yoga class. That was a mistake, as I noticed after yoga class that the toe was veering off to the left. I then decided it must be broken and kept it taped to the neighboring toe, elevated it, and stopped hiking and yoga for six weeks.

    After six weeks, the toe was still somewhat swollen, so I finally went to the doctor and had it x-rayed. It turns out the toe was both fractured and dislocated. The doctor said I could resume normal activity as the fracture is pretty much healed, but did not advise me about what to do about the dislocation.

    I am wondering if it is too late to have it put back in place since it has been six weeks. What will the long term affects of not fixing it be? I put on my hiking boots yesterday and went for a moderate hike and it seemed to be ok, although it is still swollen. (I am soaking it in epsom salts three times a day and that seems to help some).

    What do you think? What would you do if it was your toe? Pain is not an issue, swelling I am concerned about and the dislocated joint.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kathy,

      It sounds like you responded well to the situation, especially by applying ice and then seeing a doctor when the symptoms didn’t decrease. It may have been wiser to avoid yoga class and hiking but that’s in the past.

      If after seeing the doctor he or she did not recommend any steps for the dislocation I assume they didn’t think it would be a problem. The toe may have been dislocated abd resumed some semblance of normality, enough so that the doctor you saw didn’t think you should take any further action. If you’re still concerned I would phone your doctor to clarify instructions and ask if you should take any steps in regards to the dislocation.

      Engaging the foot in light activity such as hiking (which protects your toes from harm) can be a good idea. Additionally soaking the toe or any other practices the relieve pain will also help. The toe may be able to be repositioned but any further procedures should be checked with your GP or podiatrist in order to avoid contradictory advice or any practices that may somehow unintentionally run contrary to your best interests.

      ToeDoc

      • Kathy says:

        I went to the podiatrist yesterday. He said the dislocaton was not severe and the compression fracture looked good.

        One end of the bone at the dislocation site is somewhat pointed, but when he felt the toe he said it felt better than it looked. In the future, it is possible that a corn could form where the pointed bone is located and that could cause some pain. He said it could be fixed with an in office surgical procedure that is no big deal, if that should become a problem.

        He also said it could take up to 6 months for the swelling to subside. He said I could resume normal activities, but as far as yoga goes, I will probably never be able to extend that toe.

        I feel better now that I have had him look at it. Thanks for your help. This is a great site and I told the podiatrist about it. He said he would have to check it out.

  • Linda H says:

    Four days ago I was removing a shoe by the heal with the top of the other foot with the shoe on when the shoe slipped. My left big toe area turned dark purple. I heard a crack. The purple amazingly stops just below the nail. Each day the area is less purple and swollen. But the knuckle area, the joint under the toe nail does not curl as far as the other foot. Could I have dislocated this joint? What does it mean in the long term. I do have some slight left leg aches.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Linda,

      The cracking sound you heard could be any number of things from air escaping in between the joints to the bone crackling. Judging by your description the toe is healing by itself and the lack of curling ability you are experiencing is likely due to residual stiffness createdby the initial injury. It sounds like you may have sprained the toe mildly or dislocated it but the toe is now back in place and healing. I would continue to rehabilitate the toe and treat it cautiously but you sound like you’re definitely on the road to recovery.

      ToeDoc

  • Shelbi says:

    Hello,
    2 days ago I hit my right baby toe on a coffee table in my living room. It looked crooked and was definetly not in its right place. It got really swolen but not so much bruised. I went to my normal doctor and he tried to re-align my toe, without much luck he taped the two toes together and sent me home. His instructions were to keep it taped and this weekend maybe try to re-align it at home. Today it seems a little better but it still is very sore, swolen, and somewhat crooked. My mom decided to make an appt with a podiatrist tomorrow. My question is if i should just wait it out and see if my toe re-aligns or if i should just go to the podiatrist. My family doesnt have health insurance and the last thing i need is to go waste money for something I have already heard. If you think I should go to the appointment should I wait untill the swelling goes down??

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Shelbi,

      If your original doctor made a diagnosis that seemed to match our symptoms, there’s a good chance he or she knows what they’re talking about and leaving it taped would be an okay (and cheaper) option. However seeing a podiatrist will likely help you alleviate any concerns and know for sure what is going on. You can’t put a price on good health. In this situation it’s pretty much up to you, but knowing for sure is always the option that leaves patients with peace of mind.

      ToeDoc

      • Shelbi says:

        Thank you so much for your response! (: I ended up going to the appointment and come to find out my toe was in fact dislocated but also fractured. The doctor numbed it up and got it back in its right place…So glad i went to the podiatrist!

  • Heather says:

    I stubbed my pinky toe about a month and a half ago. I went to my podiatrist two weeks after and had it x-rayed and he said it wasn’t broken. I continue to have pain that goes across the top of my foot and radiates back to my ankle. When I press on the neck of the metatarsal it hurts. I also have some limited range of motion. Is it possible for a break to show up later or could a stubbed toe hurt this long? Wondering if I should return to the podiatrist.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Heather,

      The origin of the pain can be deceptive. If the symptoms continue to bother you and show no signs of dissipating I’d recommend you get an entire foot scan. There are of course lingering sources of pain after any injury but two weeks for a stubbed pinky toe is unusual. You may have jammed one of the foot bones or caused some microtears in the muscles surrounding the joints. If the symptoms continue to plague you, investigate further and think about taking some time off the foot to allow the injury to fully heal.

      ToeDoc

  • jaime says:

    a few days ago, i was sitting on a porch swing and it broke. im guessing i either landed on my foot or the swing fell on it, i noticed that my little toe, the one next to the baby toe on my left foot was pointing the wrong direction. it was pointing toward my baby toe and was laying on top of it. i was told that it was dislocated, so my mom put it back in place, and we elevated it, iced it, i took anti inflammatory and taped it. my question is now after it has been a few days, shouldn’t i feel some type of relief? my entire foot is swollen and bruised, and if i absolutely have to get up i can’t put any weight or anything on it. i am in more pain now then i was when it happened. so i don’t know if maybe there might be something else wrong or not. and i was wondering if i should go to the dr and have them xray or something to see if there is something else wrong??

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Jaime,

      If you only guessed it was dislocated there could be further damage. The symptoms for broken or sprained toe can last much longer. I’d recommend seeing a podiatrist, especially if the toe was resting on top of the other one. You don’t want to take any risks with toe injuries that appear severe. Even if the toe is just dislocated, there are likely some strained ligaments or tendons that are contributing to the swelling and the pain. If you have the time, seek a doctor, if not, give the injury a few more days to check for signs of recovery and if there’s no improvement it’s important you seek some medical council.

      ToeDoc

  • Michele says:

    I broke my right pinky toe about 3 months ago. It is still not healed. I had xrays done recently and it shows 2 breaks in the toe and a bone fragment that came loose and is stuck in one of the breaks which is causing my toe to tip towards the right and curl upwards (dislocation/hammer toe). They say the only way to fix it is with surgery to remove the bone fragment and straighten out the toe and any ligament damage. Could there be another way to fix this? I have not been able to put closed shoes on for 3 months and it hurts every day,

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Michele,

      There may have been other ways to fix it closer to the fate of the injury but by this time it’s likely surgery is your best option. There may be some more holistic medicinal treatment options but I would opt for a trained professional to take care of my foot and toes in this case, especially given the length of time and the problem’s the injury has caused.

      ToeDoc

  • Paige says:

    Last year my toe managed to slip under the rest of my foot and I put my weight on that foot while falling off balance (putting all of my weight on the toe). My the entire top of my foot became black and blue, but it didn’t seem to be a full dislocation; it looked like it was still where it was supposed to be. The toe recently started acting up again, and the joint looks popped out and swollen, and it has a huge bunion ( I am a pre-professional dancer, so I just assumed it was normal for the trade). It gives me intense pain while I am on my toes. Is there any way I can let this heal now, that doesn’t include not dancing? Would taping my toes together help?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Paige,

      In your situation it’s likely combination of factors affecting the toe. Dancing combined with injury can put multiple stresses on the toe joints, especially the ligaments and tendons within the foot. In most cases this is from overuse of an injured joint that still needs time for recovery. If you’re using your toe while it’s injured raping may help but more than likely it needs some time for rehabilitation. If the toe tends to stress easily and cause quite a bit of pain there may be a hairline fracture or lingering, residual injury that is flaring up. See a podiatrist and/or get an x-ray to be sure.

      ToeDoc

  • Joe says:

    Toe Doctor.
    On October 27,2011, I dislocated the middle toe on the right foot. It was painful immediately. I was dancing the Waltz at the time. The next morning the toe was swollen and red. I went to the hospitol and they took x rays confirming the dislocation. They sent me to an Ortropedic Surgen. He realigned the toe and confirmed it with x rays. He wraped it and told me that it went in easily and may come out again. On November 7, they requested I come in to look at the toe. It was dislocated again. Now they want to put a pin in the toe to prevent it from moving. I am annoyed that the Doctor did not tell be to keep off the foot for a few days. I attended a trade show that afternoon and moved 50 pound boxes. We were then hit with the big snow storm that week end that required emergency work, fire wood, gas containers (35 lb.). No power for 6 days. Do I need the pin Surgery? Thanks,Joe

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Joe,

      My apologies for the delayed response. If the doctor wants to put a pin in the toe to prevent movement it’s likely he has good reason to believe you may need it. The final decision will of course come down to you. In your situation many people usually try other methods of recovery varying from holistic health practices to simple rest and physiotherapy. Dislocated joints do become easier to dislocate and re-injure after the initial trauma. If you believe this is going to be a problem and would like to prevent dislocations from happening in the future the pin may be the answer. In your case I would investigate other options to see what else may be available and then when you’ve collected other data and information you can make an informed decision as to what the best practice would be. In this case we can’t say one way or another because we haven’t seen the injury nor do we have all the information. The best thing to do is to collect the data and make an informed decision that will work best for your short and long term needs.

      ToeDoc

  • Steve says:

    I had a strange impact on the toe next to my pinkie while playing soccer. I think it might be broken but may be dislocated as well. There was some swelling, going up into my foot and slight bruising, but not too bad. And the pain isn’t bad either. However, the toe is rather floppy and I can manipulate it very easily from side to side mid-toe, which doesn’t happen on the other foot. The toe is so small, though, that I can’t tell if it’s bending at the joint or if a metatarsal is broken. Any thoughts based on these symptoms? It’s been four days now and it is still very loose. I’ve kept it buddied the entire time. Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Steve,

      Buddy-wrapping the toe was a smart move. As for as flexibility goes if the toe is not in pain and the swelling has gone down it sounds like the toe is on the road to recovery. The smaller toes can sometimes have serious injuries with minimal side effects but if there’s no pain or discomfort it’s usually a good sign. Sometimes it seems like the toe is much more flexible simply because we’ve never moved our toe around before. If the remains “floppy” for too long then you may want to look into it but for now I wouldn’t worry too much. Keep the toe buddy-wrapped and start to gently rehabilitate the toe with some basic pressure and movement exercises.

      ToeDoc

  • Mari says:

    Toe Doc Please Help!
    My daughter is 9 years old and an extreme dancer and gymnast. Sunday 2 days ago she caught her middle toe on the gymnastic instructors shoe while flipping over. She says the toe was stuck sideways toward the small toes. She immediately bent down and got it “unstuck”. She complained of severe pain at the time but did not cry. But again she is an extreme athlete. We taped it immediatley and have been icing it several times a day as well as taking ibuprofen. The middle toe has some dark purple bruising with some bruising on to the top of the foot covering a pretty good sized area. In the first 24 hours 3 or 4 toes and the top of the foot was swollen. The swelling is gone now but the bruising remains but is unchanged. She reported it felt better the second day and took “an easy”…sort of the first day following. She is certainly limping and favoring that foot and walking on it funny. Today she danced on it pretty intense and complained of pain during and following class. She has a big competition in 8 weeks and she has to be prepared for this date. Do you feel like with this type of injury stretching and pushing throught the pain is okay? I have encouraged her to rest but she is a very driven individual and has some important weekends coming up that she needs to be ready for. I know kids heal quick. I am just not sure if I should take her in to make sure it is not broke, let her guide herself in her activity or if I should just make her stay off of it??? I do not want her to cause herself further injury. Should I give her ibuprofen before activity?, Is it okay if she jumps on it or lands flips on it?, do you think it is just dislocated or could it be broken? Will she cause herself further injury by walking/dancing on it while favoring that foot causing her to put her weight on the outer edge of the foot instead of walking normal? ;please help!!!!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mari,

      Based on your description and your daughter’s activities the toe sounds like it was dislocated or potentially sprained. The fact that it shot right back into place after the initial trauma and that she has been using it consistently (despite easy days) after the fact is generally indicative of a minor injury. Your right when you say kids heal quickly but they need rest just like the rest of us. Pushing through the pain for eight weeks may cause more harm then good. A better solution may be to take three days off, test out the toe and work with some gentle rehabilitation exercises. Initial rest after the injury occurs is almost always best in the long term health of the foot. She may be facing weeks or months of recovery if she injures the toe further but only half a week is she waits now.

      Bruising can last for a while and don’t be surprised if the some discoloration lingers after the toe feels fully operational. Our recommendation is half a week of rest on the foot with RICE treatment followed by increased use of the toes and any necessary rehabilitation exercises that help bring her back into her previous condition or better. Listen to her responses and provide guidance that helps her continue to heal without risking a more serious injury to the toe.

      ToeDoc

  • Don says:

    I was swimming laps in the pool and with my last kick, I kicked the lane divider. I had that feeling of something bad just happened but it didn’t hurt. I was afraid I was cut and jumped out of the pool immediately. My “ring toe” was laying sideways. I grabbed it and bent it back and I could feel the “bones” kind of popping as I moved it but it fell to the other side. I then pulled on it a little and and straightened it again and it seemed to hold in place. It never hurt but just felt weird.
    I then got up to get my sandles and the very first step hurt. It swelled but not too bad. This morning (this happened yesterday evening) the toe is turning black, the foot is by toe is black, and there is minor swelling and hurts to walk on. I ice it and keep it elevated when possible. My concern is did I do a clean break or was that a dislocation? I appreciate your help very much, I’m a marathon runner and have a marathon in 4 weeks so this is def a frustration. Thanks!!!!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Don,

      Your situation is actually not all that unusual. Athletes in particular are prone to try and fix their own injuries before seeking medical attention. Although this tendency is good in the short term, over the long run there can be some unpleasant side effects. The popping sound you described is typically not indicative of a break but you may have torn some ligaments or tendons during the replacement procedure. The delayed swelling your dealing with is likely a combination of both the initial injury coupled with additional stresses of moving the toe back into place.

      If you do have a marathon in four weeks you absolutely want to get the injury x-rayed and reviewed by a podiatrist or healthcare expert. There’s no sense taking any risks in that regard. That being said, we’ve seen many athletes recover quickly, even from broken toes and are able to perform in their events, at least in some capacity. Get a full diagnosis of the injury and then take into account your priorities and timing. This information will help to form a base for your decision of whether to run or not.

      ToeDoc

      • Don says:

        Thanks Doc!
        It seems to be healing at an extremely fast rate. I had it buddy taped for a while and today I kept the tape off. The color is starting to go away (there are two black lines on the toe) and the swelling is almost gone as well. And your diagnosis seems right on. I only get pain now when I push off when taking a step, which I was told could be ligament/muscle damage and due to any remaining swelling. There is no pain to the touch at all. I do the RICE method and that does absolute wonders for it. I’ve been doing the toe lifts now pretty well too. Your site has been invaluable to help me make the right decisions in how to treat my toe.
        So I guess my only question would be with how well it’s healing, should I still look at getting an xray? I don’t have medical insurance and that’s why I hesitate on it.

        I’d probably also recommend to people to not show off how far you can bend your toe after it’s dislocated. :)

        • Toe Doc says:

          Hi Don,

          If the toe feels okay to use with little or no pain in a couple of days the x-ray may be unnecessary, however if you continue to have pain flare ups for five or more days it might be time to look into getting some medical attention. As mentioned previously it’s pretty much up to you, but athletes do have a remarkable ability to heal quite well and perform with minor injuries. I would definitely take some time before and after the marathon to carefully diagnose the limitations of your toe. For now an x-ray falls into a precautionary role and it may be more cost efficient to wait and see.

          And yes, bending the toe after a dislocation can be a neat party trick but can delay healing and weaken the joint. Use the ability wisely ;) .

          ToeDoc

  • Keith says:

    About 5 months ago I dislocated my big toe mountain biking. I went to the ER and they put it back in place. The problem is I still have some swelling and pain today. It doesn’t hurt when I walk or run, only when I bend it. Any suggestions??

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Keith,

      If you’re sure it’s residual pain from the 5 month old injury then you may want to look into active release technique or chiropodists; anyone who deals with physiotherapy-like treatment with a focus on the feet and toes. Scar tissue can build up after an injury which limits movement and can have symptoms such as pain flare-ups and imbalance in the joints. It’s likely the joint is correctly back in place but may be suffering from long-term effects from the initial trauma.

  • kirsty says:

    Hi. I dislocated the middle phalange in little toe, at first it felt like I had fractured the metatarsal bone attached to my little toe. I was able to walk on my heel which was difficult and painful Doc said he could only pull it back 75% in place. But sent me home with no after care leaflet or no info and with my foot feeling worse than what it did when I went in . It happened almost a month ago the 1st 2week I couldnt put any weight on my foot at all not even my heel. I still cant stand evenly on my foot without feeling pain. Do I go back and see the doctor? Thnx

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kirsty,

      If the doctor gave you no remaining instructions and the toe is in severe pain, seeing him would likely be the best thing to do. It may only take a phone call but you want to be sure in this case and avoid any potential long term damage.

      ToeDoc

  • Chris says:

    I dislocated my right big toe on 11/08/11. Emergency room Doctor reset the toe. Man did that hurt! I broke the same toe about 30 yrs ago. I am 52 now. The first 2 days were very painful, front half of my foot was black & blue, considerable swelling of the top of my foot. After 6 days now the swelling has reduced but still a little puffy. The area around my big toe is still in pain but not at all like the first several days when my whole foot was killing me.. I have not been to a follow up Dr. visit that was recommended. How long does it usually take for the swelling to go away and the pain to subside and how long before I can drive? The bruising has gone away.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Chris,

      As your age increases, your ability to heal quickly diminishes. If you dislocated a toe that you previously broke you’d also likely have a longer recovery time. These two factors coupled together may mean the toe takes longer than usual to heal. The swelling will subside likely in the next week (if it doesn’t seek a doctor’s attention), but the pain may last a bit longer until the toe is fully recovered, anywhere from one to three weeks. This is part of growing older, make sure to treat the toe gently and use it as little as possible which will help expedite the joint’s recovery.

      ToeDoc

  • Lacey Landholt says:

    I have seen two podiatrists and have had two sets of x-rays confirming that all of my toes on both feet are dislocated (most likely a hereditary condition.) One doctor suggested I do nothing. The other doctor suggested surgery to shorten the bones, but warned of a long recovery period. Have you any experience, suggestions with this type of situation?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Lacey,

      Your situation is not unique, but certainly quite uncommon. In this situation it’s best if you analyze what the results of each choice would be. Whichever option has the best long term effects would likely make the most sense. Despite a long recovery time, if the surgery saved you years of potential trouble and pain it may be the right choice. However if the dislocated toes do not bother you much and are merely a hindrance in some minor situations it may be better to leave them as is and wait to see if surgery is necessary. In either case, look what the rest of your life will be like by choosing one or the other and then pick the option that makes most sense to you.

      ToeDoc

  • tony says:

    Help I dislocated my big left toe a month ago the doctors put it back into place I thought having no feeling/sensation was part of the healing process but it never got better there is virtually no feeling in my big toe, it just feels numb. what do i do?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tony,

      Unfortunately numbness can have multiple causes and it can be hard to locate the direct cause. In this case it’s possible the decreased sensation is due to some nerve impingement that may have happened during the injury. It’s also possible that many of the sensory receptors shut down during the trauma or healing process and resume normal process later on. There is of course a chance that some other problem is causing the numbness such as toe gout. Try checking with your local physician or the doctors who put your toe back into place to see what their thoughts are and if this has ever occurred with previous patients.

      ToeDoc

  • George says:

    Hi Doc,
    About two months ago, my son 8 years old grabbed onto my toes to click them and release the tension built up. He does it regularly as it makes daddy toes feel better. Well, this time the way he pulled it, I knew that something happened differently. Within a couple of days, we had to travel overseas so it was a busy time to look into it. But during the trip overseas I felt that something was different, in fact the knuckle part of my large big toe was different to my left foot knuckle. It was more sideways pronounced and when I would touch it, it felt sensitive and sore.
    In the last weeek I had a therapeutic masseur check it out to no avail.
    I’ve also tried an osteopath to get a second go at it. The osteopath pulled it but it didn’t come good. Any ideas?
    George

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi George,

      There’s a chance that during the ‘pulling’ process that you may have strained some of the muscle fibers or smaller ligaments and/or tendons in the joint. Sometimes even smaller stresses can cause injury. If the toe is showing visible signs of discoloration and swelling it may have been dislocated, but there’s a higher chance that it’s a very minor sprain and the sideways appearance is a result of the knuckle swelling slightly. Try apply R.I.C.E. and taking it easy for a few days. Any massage or pulling on the toe would likely cause more aggravation, for now let it be and see if the toe begins to heal on itself. If after a week there is no improvement, you may want to look further into a potential dislocation or higher degree sprain.

      ToeDoc

  • gail says:

    hi doc… my second smallest toe on my left foot got bent 2 hours ago and i cud move the toe after that.. it didnt hurt that much.. but after an hour or so it got swollen and started hurting bad. (only when i walked). im really worried.. i think i might have a fracture.. i used ice on the swollen toe but there was no difference.. i hav to fly to a nother country in 10 days… and i really wanna be better before that..coz i won be able to rest there!!! help!!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Gail,

      It’s unusual that the symptoms were delayed that much, it may be some latent effects of the initial trauma. Give the toe three days of rest and RICE treatment and if there’s no improvement see a doctor or podiatrist and ask for the recommendation. You may also want to purchase a toe brace or buddy wrap and pad the area around the toe to make movement easier. After the trip do another assessment for improvement and take any necessary steps from there.

      ToeDoc

  • michele a says:

    Hello :)
    I have read all the above comments and found your articles on dislocation extremely informative.
    5 weeks ago I dislocated 4th toe (the joint before the toe) running on sand.. which I had done all week on holidays) the whole front of my foot kind of flipped up toward my ankle and then part of it didnt come back down. it didnt hurt at the time, just felt like a wierd snap. did RICE immedietly..anyhow- I couldnt get it seen to for 48 hrs (dont ask) … zero bruising just swelling and wierd looking.. and after the emerg doc tried to “fix’ it 2 times and couldnt (Painful! even with freezing) I ended up seeing a Orthopede who then did surgery with a 2.5 inch pin insertion on day 6 from injury. Still no bruising that whole time btw until after surgery The pin was removed 4 days ago and already the foot is starting to look and feel like a foot.I dont have to go back to doc. he said- looks good– go home and treat it like you dropped a can of soup on it.. Im able to put pressure on the heel at this point and can rest the ball of the foot on the floor. My question is: I did suffer ligament damage and pulling under the balll of the foot. Doc had to remove some inflammed tissue as well..its still very bruised and quite swollen but swelling is lessening. I am taking it easy and elevating alot but I do have to go back to work in 2 weeks and its my driving foot. What realistic timeframe ballpark (Weeks/ months) does this type of injury take to heal fully- I dont want to push the foot to quickly- yet i do need to get on with life. i have the funny shoe to wear and still on crutches right now. I dont want to feel sorry for suddenly overdoing it. how can I tell when its good to put my dancing shoes back on…(sorry for the length)

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Michele,

      We understand your frustration. An injured toe seems to minor but can prevent so much movement. In this case the orthopedic surgeon likely has more correct answers than we can provide in terms of ligament damage and recovery time. If the toe was inflamed and wasn’t fixed properly twice in a row, it’s likely there was at least some minor ligament damage. In terms of recovery, toe surgery can take anywhere from four to eight weeks (on average) to recover from. The less you use the toe the better. We’d advise checking with the surgeon for more detailed instructions in terms of recovery.

      ToeDoc

  • Jon says:

    Today i ran in my house with shoes off, i jumped and i hit one of my toes on the corner of a wall. the toe is the one next to the pinky toe. It was slightly crooked but didnt hurt to bad. i sat down and snapped it back into place and now im resting with elevation.. does this sound like a dislocation or a break?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Jon,

      It sounds like a dislocation from the description, however depending on the severity of the impact the toe could be broken. If the pain is minor and you ‘snapped’ it back into place, then a dislocation is the most probable option. Keep using R.I.C.E. and check to see if any broken toe symptoms show up, if not then follow the recovery steps on this page here.

      ToeDoc

  • ALI says:

    HI IM A 63 YR OLD WOMAN I HAD HURT MY PINKY TOE 2 MONTHS BACK I ALSO HAD SOME PAIN WHICH DECREASED LATER ON…BUT IT STILL HURTS ITS PAINFUL WHEN I TRY TO MOVE IT AROUNG ….OF LATE I HAVE SEEN ITS GETTING BLUISH BLACK IN COLOUR….WAT IS THE BEST POSSIBLE TREATMENT FOR THIS…PLEASE HELP

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Ali,

      If your toe is still blue and black and the injury happened two months ago it’s important to seek medical attention. You have broken, and then re=broken the toe or seriously damaged some of the internal tissues. Re-injury can be quite debilitating, and as you get older your risks for long term damage increases. Definitely see a local doctor or podiatrist for further analysis and advice.

      ToeDoc

  • Diana says:

    Hi, nov. 14 I missed the bottom stair in the basement causing me to land on balls of feet falling to the right and body went forward over toes. This bent certain toes backwards breaking my left big and second toes and my right pinkie toe. I noticed right away my big toe looked white between the knuckle and foot. E.R. X rays said they were all broke close to the tips. Lots of swelling and bruising. Booted left foot,buddy taped pinky. I have finally gotten to where I can lift left foot toes a bit but notice even if my brain says I’m closing those two toes, they are moving little. Still a tinge purple (not like bruising) and slightly puffy. Painful if I try to push it. Feels like big toe joint. Uninsured so willing to wait it out, but don’t want to neglect something serious either. Any idea what might be going on? Thank you in advance.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Diana,

      It sounds like you’re on the mend and even though your brain thinks the toes are connecting, they are only moving a bit. This is a natural part of the recovery process. If the toes are taped, wrapped and not causing you active pain then you should give the recovery at least a week before taking any action. Broken toes can take some time. Try moving the toes a little more in a couple of days and you should notice a wider range of movement. If the injury seems to be getting worse or there is increasing discomfort you may want to see a doctor, if not, continue resting the toe and testing it for signs of improvement.

      ToeDoc

  • Sheldon says:

    Hi,
    My little 10 year old girl hit her little toe on the couch corner tonight, it of course turned red and is slightly curved out now and has swelled up a little she has been keeping it elevated and had put a little ice on it. She of course cried and has been complaining of the pain. How do you judge if it is a dislocated joint or if something is broken? At what point do you recommend her seeing the doc? As most are out for the holidays. We gave it a slight tug and wrapped it up next to the other toes because it didn’t stay straight. What do you recommend from here?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Sheldon,

      Sounds like you took the perfect steps after the injury. You’re right of course, it is challenging to tell, especially with children, how bad the pain really is and whether the toe should be treated or not. In this case I would wait two days and check with your daughter about how she feels the improvement is coming. Children heal quite fast and their bones are more flexible then ours so the toe may recover on it’s own. If she is still complaining of severe pain after 48 hours, see a doctor and err on the safe side.

      ToeDoc

  • Ambie-louise- says:

    hey, im 19 years old, i have a problem with my feet. The toes seem to dislocate, quite a lot- several times a day. i can be doing something very simple like walking and they can just “pop out”. even if i extend my leg up in the air whilst watching the TV, or anything else, my toes mainly on the left foot, seem to dislocate, sometimes they go back in very quickly other times im sat there for hours trying to get them back in. The pain is horrible, it brings me to tears and after the 1st hour i cant take it anymore. Sometimes i can be stood up or walking and they just dislocate themselves. very embarrasing sometimes as im at college and have to walk to the bathroom to sort it out. is there anything i can do to help this? or am i stuck with my horrible toes for the rest of my life? i do seem to have a similar problem in my hands?? could this be related?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Ambie-Louise,

      this sort of problem can sometimes occur when you’ve dislocated the joint a few times and from then on the joint becomes much, much easier to dislocate again. In your case it sounds like it may be a larger problem if you’re noticing it on multiple toes or in the hands as well. We’d advise seeing a doctor to learn more as this problem may be diet related, a degenerative disease or a host of other potential problems that require lab testing and professional attention. This problem should be dealt with as soon as possible to learn what the root cause is. See a podiatrist or health care professional to get a full diagnosis.

      ToeDoc

  • pat says:

    In August I had a Mortons Neuroma removed. I was in pain for months and the podiatrist just kept telling me to elevate and put ice on it and give it some time. I made an appt with an foot and ankle specialist for Dec and thank goodness I did. My middle toe has been dislocated for 5 months now and the doctor said it will never be a normal foot. I am having my surgery manipulation and pinning, possible osteotomy and other good surgical terms. What is your opinion on this?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Pat,

      Ask your doctor if this operation has had positive results in other patients and do some internet searches for situations like yours. Sometimes you come across some alternative remedies that actually have some useful information attached. You want to collect as much information as possible before going ahead with the surgery and take very precaution in order to gain the full use out of your toe and/or foot. If the surgery is the best option, do it, but make sure you know 100% what you’re getting into.

      ToeDoc

  • John the self healer says:

    OK, here’s my story: Almost a year ago I slipped in the shower at the gym. Figured I broke my left large toe as it hurt like all heck. Talked to alot of folks all agreed that there isn’t much to do about a broken toe. 11 months later, still hurts. A couple of weeks ago I went to my doc for a physical and he told me to get it xrayed. I did and the tech said it was broken and is dislocated. I looked at the xray and it looked pretty ugly. Please advise. I don’t want to loose the use of the toe but I need to get it fixed.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi John,

      Ask your doctor what the next step should be. There’s a chance the toe might require some surgery in order for it be operational again. A dislocation combined with a broken joint is tricky enough as it is without 11 months of use on top of that. Likely the toe has partially healed in a poor manner that’s resulted in a misshapen joint that hurts every time you use it. The toe may have to be reset (and potentially re-broken) in order to functionally walk again and could require three months or more of limited toe movement.

      ToeDoc

  • Melissa says:

    Hi,

    A few years ago I kicked my little toe into a heavy wooden draw, the result left my little toe to turn outwards. I stupidly didn’t go to a doctor (I was a broke student at the time) and borrowed crutches from my friend and used those for a while. However, to this day I still suffer with pain in my toe and foot. I am developing pain in my neck as I find myself not walking properly anymore. My little toe still swells up and goes very red when I wear certain shoes.
    As I have left this for so long I am afraid there is nothing that can be done, but at the same time I know I cannot continue on living in pain and not being able to stand or walk properly.
    Could you give some advice as to what I should do?
    Thanks very much.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Melissa,

      The pain in your neck may or may not be related to your toe injury. If the toe damage affected your walking gait which in turn had an effect on your spine the two may be related. If you’ve left the toe for a long time then you should definitely see a local doctor. The toe may require surgery if it’s healed in an incorrect format and worst case you have a lead for what to do with the injury. It’s important to address problems early so they don’t turn into longer, more intense and more expensive injuries down the line. Some of the ligaments or tissues may be unable to heal correctly which can lead to increased swelling and inflammation. Best step here is to get it assessed by a local GP.

      ToeDoc

  • Molly says:

    My friend, Jess, dislocated her toe about three weeks ago, the toe next to her pinkie on the left. She went to the doctors and they said just to rest it for a bit. Over the three weeks of holiday she was very careful not to put too much strain on it. However, now being back at school, having to walk a lot, by the time she gets home she’s limping. Also, her toe has popped back out three times since the injury. Should she go back to the doctors of perhaps just rest it for longer?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Molly,

      If the toe is still causing her problems she should see the doctor again. The fact that she’s coming home limping and it’s irritating her each day means that there needs to be further treatment. It may require her to rest a while longer, but in either case something needs to be done in order to stop the toe from popping out again. Describe the problem to the doctor and explain that something needs to be done.

      ToeDoc

  • Kim says:

    I was on my computer for 5 hours or so last week and when I got off I noticed my middle toe on my right foot, 2nd joint, was bent at a 90 degree angle up. I assumed it was broken and buddy taped it. There has been no swelling or bruising and I have no insurance. It is not too painfull to walk on but I’ve been a coward and haven’t untaped it since, about 6 days. Is it dislocated, sprained, or broken? How long should I keep it buddy taped?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kim,

      If the pain is relatively minor, try releasing the buddy wrap and gently flexing the toe and moving it around. There may be discomfort, but if the pain is not extreme then gentle rehabilitation of the toe should be the next step. If you do find that releasing the buddy wrap starts causing problems with walking and the toe starts acting up, re-tape the toe until the pain subsides. If you want to be careful, leave the buddy wrap as it is for the next three to four days until you feel comfortable separating the toes. This scenario calls for your best judgement on what to do based on the level of pain.

      ToeDoc

  • Diane says:

    Help!
    I’m 27 years old and out of the blue last night I started having major pain in my big toe.
    It hurts right around the joint and the ball of my foot at the toe. It almost feels as though the toe is dislocated, or badly needs to be cracked. I can still move the toe but I can’t curl it under or lift it upwards (as if I’m standing on my tip toes) as far as usual without pain and discomfort. Manually, moving the toe side to side causes extreme pain as well putting pressure on the side of the joint, but it does not hurt for me to squeeze the top and bottom of the foot on the joint area.
    However, I can’t put any weight on the toe without major, major pain, and can only walk on the side of that foot.
    The toe itself doesn’t look unusual at all, no swelling, bruising, or pointing in odd directions.
    I had this happen once before about 5 years ago, same situation – no noticeable cause, and it eventually just disappeared as suddenly as it came after about 6 months. I jokingly called it my “Broken Toe Syndrome”.
    I’m just wondering if this is something you’ve ever heard of before, or if it can actually be fixed, so maybe I don’t have to suffer for the next several months!
    Thank you so much!!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Diane,

      Although it’s quite uncommon and even unlikely at your age, the pain could be an early indicator of toe gout or toe arthritis. The other alternative is that it’s a stress fracture from over use or a growth pain. Sudden flashes of discomfort to the extreme you’re describing sometimes also have their roots elsewhere meaning that the toe could be a symptom of a different problem. Without in-person analysis it’s impossible to determine the exact cause and/or reason, check with your local GP.

      ToeDoc

  • daniella tomblin-pugh says:

    Hi
    I stubbed my little pinky toe about 10 days ago now, it was facing the wrong way at a 45 degree angle and hurt but not as much as it looked like it should. I pushed it back towards the other toes and it made a sort of cracking/clicking sound. I got it xrayed and was told it was not broken but misaligned. It is in a better position now but still so sore and it aches when i put shoes on. The bruising on top of my foot has now subsided.
    How long it will take for the pain to go and when I will be able to go back to exercising? I can walk on it but am aware of it all the time.
    Do you think this is just normal and needs time for the joints to heal?
    Many thanks
    Daniella

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Daniella,

      It sounds like the toe was briefly dislocated but slotted back into place. The bruising, pain and aching should subside or at least decrease significantly within the week but you still want to be careful when using the foot as dislocated joints have a tendency to be more prone to injury, especially right after the initial injury. What you’ve described sounds very normal which is excellent as following the basic steps outlined on this page will allow you to heal normally and be back into action in no time. The most important part is ensuring you don’t over-stress the toe or foot too soon and risk re-injury. Ramp of the involvement bit by bit.

      ToeDoc

  • Casey Wildgen says:

    Almost 2 months ago I had a physio bend the first phalange of the big toe too too far. (She was working on the plantar fascia at the time) In a couple hours there was sharp on top of the toe – like a sliver of pain running from the joint up to the nail plus sharp pain went thru to other side of the joint. ( I was pain meds for 4 straight days.) It turned blue the next day. Now 2 months later, I still have constant pain in the joint and on top of the toe – and sometimes sharp pain on the medial side of the next joint. I cannot stand barefoot without causing more pain to the joint. I take shorter strides to avoid bending the joint. (I constantly baby this thing!) I have seen my family doctor who said extensor tendon damage…. avulsion fracture hasbeen ruled out via xray. But there seems more to it, considering the length of time for recovery and the persisting pain. I have had stub toes before and they get better much faster than this. Although, this injury is much more painful than a stubbed toe. What do you think? Suggestions for helping this injury get better.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Casey,

      Although an alvusion fracture has been ruled out by an x-ray, some tendon and ligament damage can take a long time to heal and have permanent or long lasting side effects. In this case you may want to test if the toe feels better after keeping weight off it for a week. Although recovery may be slow, treating like an injured foot can help alleviate pressure on the toe and allow it to recover. If this doesn’t work you may need some in-depth analysis of toe plus testing done by a local GP to help determine the cause.

      ToeDoc

  • Richard says:

    I managed to slam my bare foot into the edge of a door last week, I’ve done it before and it’s something you normally shake off. This time though, as the week progressed, the pain got steadily worse and one of my toes bled inside and became blackish red and swollen. About the same time, my whole foot became swollen and it’s unbearable to touch to top side of my foot, and if I put my foot on the ground I can not put any weight on it at all, and with it gently resting on the ground flat, all my toes apart from my big toe, no longer touch the ground. I can not move my toes at all, but can move ever so slightly my big toe. I went to casualty to see about getting it sorted, but th etriage nurse told me as th einjury is over 3 days old, they would not X-Ray my foot !, I kicked up a fuss and asked to see a Doctor, and he did’nt bother to examine my foot, just took a non contact cursory glance at it and prescribed me 60mg Codeine 4x a day, plus 3x 400mg Ibuprofen a day plus 8x 500mg Paracetamol a day.
    NOTHING is releaving the pain! I was told to walk on my heel but trying to do that causes pain to the entire front and top half of my foot, I guess from ligament straining?
    Raising my foot does not help as any pressure along my lower leg ( supporting ) causes pain in the foot ( pressure? ) . An ICE bath fo rmy foot takes over an hour to ease the pounding shooting pains but within 10 minutes after removing my foot from the ice, the pain is back. I’m just shocked that the hospital and medical centre will not X-Ray my foot to find the cause as they say there’s nothing can be done for a broken toe other than to buddy strap it, and they’re ignoring every other part of my foot pain. I’m completely at a loss, but having read up on th einternet I’d guess some form of metatarsal fracture/break combined with compressed or damaged nerves. MY GP practice is useless. Who would I ask to see?
    I physically shake uncontrollably from the pain when it’s really really bad.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Richard,

      If they’re refusing to see x-ray the foot then you may have to jump through hoops in order to prove it’s a viable issue. It sounds silly and almost childish but if protocol is preventing you from proper treatment, take the codeine, keep icing the foot and do what you can to treat the injury. You may find that the toe begins to heal itself, but if not then definitely see the doctor again. Unfortunately we cannot control what your GP does or recommends. If the toe is broken then a cast me be applied and you can request this if you think the injury warrants it. If the pain begins spreading up the leg then you need to express the fact that the pain is expanding and growing to your doctor. This should help you gain a second audience and potentially an x-ray and treatment with your GP to help get you well.

      ToeDoc

  • Tonette says:

    Hi, i caught my ‘ring’ toe around an open door 2 weeks and 2 days ago. there was immediate pain and visible misalignment of the toe. I wasn’t sure what to make of it and the pain soon gave way to swelling.I elevate the foot since then and use an ice-pack.I didn’t become alarmed since I could move the toe and feel it when I pricked it. I t didn’t occur to me that I’d dislocated it! I’ve had no medical care since, am buddy-tying it and I think the healing is just happening slowly….tell me though…what does the swollen toe (just the toe) indicate? and what else should I be doing…thank u that you’re there….( I too have not the kind of money it’d take for the hospital.)

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Tonette,

      If the toe is swollen and misaligned it may be broken or dislocated. R.I.C.E. treatment will generally aid in reducing the inflammation and swelling enough to make a rough analysis of what kind of damage the toe has sustained. If the toe is clearly bent out of shape try visiting a sports therapist who may be able to place the toe back in normal position for less money than a doctor. If you suspect the toe is broken than it may be advisable to see a doctor. If the swelling gives way to a toe that is just bruised bu in the correct position. Keep it buddy wrapped and continue to rest and ice the toe when possible to expedite the recovery process.

      ToeDoc

  • Elizabeth says:

    I would so appreciate any advice you could provide regarding my poor little left pinky, which is possibly, and unfortunately the ONLY toe on my feet to suffer accidents repeatedly these past 5 or so years. Just to begin with, I might add that the two little toes on my left foot curl under more than my right, and I am developing a small bunion. As a result of this curl, my pinky does have a tendency to a build up of hard skin – not hugely noticeable, but enough that at times there is pain on contact with shoes. Now to the injuries: I’ve broken this little toe at least three times, rather carelessly slamming it into objects! On all occasions I rested and buddy-taped the toe, and refrained from any rigorous pressure until fully healed. The odd thing is, since these injuries, the toe doesnt quite have the mobility it use to; I can’t bend it that well for example. Furthermore, two days ago I hit the toe, not that hard I thought, on my hot water bottle in bed (I’ll bet no-one has ever suffered an injury from a hot water bottle!!!). Immediately it swelled, yesterday I experienced a lot of pain, swelling, immobility, then today, whilst attempting to walk it just popped back in place (with a brief sharp pain) and then pain immediately subsided. Do you think this was a dislocation and, despite the fact that it feels better should I still be resting it for a while yet? The exact same thing happened last year when, dashing to get my tights on, I bent the toe back sharply and suffered the same injury, only for the toe to pop back in place a day later. I might add I did have the toe x-rayed at the same time (last year) and was told nothing appeared to be wrong with it; ie no evident fractures. However, to me, it never feels quite right and always seems ultra delicate. I realise if the same toe keeps suffering injuries its likely its weakened, but I’m really getting paranoid it’s suffered so much abuse already that there is irreperable damage. What do you think a foot specialist would suggest in the way of healing and strengthening the joints – apart from the blatantly obvious “be more careful”, and in your opinion do you think this recent injury was a dislocation? Also, would it help to wear a toe protector or sleeve?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Based on the fact you ‘popped the toe’ back into position it sounds like a dislocation. The multiple and repeated injuries to the same location will limit range of motion and movement in the toe and sometimes surrounding area. If you’re continuing to stay active and use the foot you aren’t giving the injury time to recover. Putting a dislocated joint back i position stills causes trauma to the area and can hurt for a while, especially if the toe was previously injured as it was in your case. If you can buddy wrap the toe, tape it or even use a protector or sleeve these will help to prevent stray movement from the toe as well as protect it from impact. You’ve asked a lot in the question so please post back if you need further information.

      ToeDoc

  • Alley says:

    I curled my great toe and two toes next to it under my foot (they got caught on a mat during a sparring session sort of a reverse turf toe). Heard a pop like a loud knuckle crack, my big toe was immediately sore, next day great toe was almost completely black and blue and the adjoing two toes near the bottom of them , were also bruised. Xrays said no break, Doctor said watch it over two weeks. Kept off it for a week, ice, elevate. The knuckle of the great toe seems to be still sensitive/sore when used after walking jumping etc. Also great toe is slightly angled more towards the other toes than on my other foot. When I press on the top of the knuckly it does hurt a big. Could it have been dislocated and now healed into the wrong position? Any rememdy for such? I noticed also when I lift my big toe towards my knew, when I push on the tip there is no resistance it just bends, leading me to think I tore off the tendon on the end portion of my toe

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Alley,

      Could be a severe sprain or a dislocation. Does your dojo have a sports therapist they recommend? Most athletic activities see common injuries so you may want to check with sparring partners or trainers for recommendations. If there’s no break than it’s likely going to a faster recovery, especially due to the fact you’re an athlete, however seeing a sports therapist or podiatrist wouldn’t hurt either.

      ToeDoc

  • Ben says:

    I was involved in a motorcycle accident last night. After hitting the ground pretty hard I felt my big toe was dislocated. Being in a state of shock I instinctively pushed the toe back into place. I went for an x-ray and was shown to not be broken. But I am unable to move the toe, I can try and sometimes it will move a few millimetres but mostly it just feels very stiff and unresponsive although it is not pain that is stopping me move it. The toe is not numb. I have been following RICE treatment but this morning it has swelled considerably and I am still unable to move it. I am in Vietnam and unable to get specialist treatment. Is this stiffness / inability to move the toe normal? I am worried that the toe may not of been set correctly or a nerve may of been trapped in the process.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Ben,

      Recovery for a dislocated toe sounds almost exactly as you described, at least in the first few days after the injury. The initial trauma coupled with setting back into place stresses the entire joint and all the muscles in the toe and surrounding area. A great and unusual strain has been placed on the joint and your body is merely coping with it, aiming to prevent you from moving the toe so you can recover. Keep using R.I.C.E. treatment for the next few days and limit any stress you place on the foot. This will expedite the healing process and get you able to use the toe again. Buddy wrapping and protecting the toe will also help in the beginning stages of using the foot again in four to seven days.

      ToeDoc

  • Olga says:

    Hello,

    About two weeks ago a stabbed my three toes (the three in the middle on my left leg) on a workout machine. I immediately put ice on all of them. Later that day I started checking the toes and found out that one of them I couldn’t bent (the “top joint” was hurting). The next day I saw some bruises on the side and back of the toe as well as near the part where the toe attaches to the foot. I was limping for about two days. Now I can walk on it just fine, the bruises are almost gone, the only thing that bothers me is a little bump on the side of that “top” joint, when I press on it it hurts and because of that bump my toe looks a little angled to the left. It can’t be broken or anything, I would expect the toe to be all black and blue, my bruises were not that bad. What could it be and should I go to the doctor or it would be just a waste of money?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Olga,

      The bump may be a dislocation but it could also be swollen joint, ligament or tendon. If you jammed the toes than there would likely be some swelling. If you’re engaging in activity with no pain and only notice when you press on the injury than it’s likely a minor side effect of the initial trauma and should return to normal in a couple of weeks. If the bump remains, you may want to see a doctor to make sure the toe isn’t dislocated.

      ToeDoc

  • Kasey says:

    2 days ago going to sit on floor and twisted my toes around. When I looked down my left pinky toe was turned out away from my other toes and pointing out. I tried to move it back and walk to get some ice, but shooting pain was coming from the toe. I did the RICE treatment and buddy tapped it with cotton under my toe to try and straighten it. It has been 3 days now and a big bruise has developed from my toe onto the top of my foot. Last night and now I have had burning in my toe. I can move my toe slightly and walking better. Should I be concerned? I am a dancer.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Kasey,

      The fact that the toe has gotten noticeable better is a good sign. Applying quick R.I.C.E. treatment was smart and likely alleviated some of the potential damage of waiting. The toe would likely fall into the sprained category as opposed to the dislocate section. It doesn’t sound as if the toe can be easily popped back into place and there’s a good chance you’re dealing with some stressed ligaments or minor tears in the muscle tissue which cause bruising and tenderness. Keep resting the toe and if you are planning on dancing make sure you proceed with caution.

      ToeDoc

  • Lisa says:

    My toes dislocate by themselves when I am relaxing, usually when I am overtired. It is always my middle toes, fingers as well come to think of it.

    I don’t have any injuries that would cause this but it is very uncomfortable, painful, and takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to recover and always reoccurs several times in the space of half an hour or an hour. It’s like the toes are spasiming until they dislocate always pointing in some odd direction and I can’t control them.

    What would cause this? I’m sure there are many others with the same problem, my daughter also has the same dislocating fingers and toes.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Lisa,

      The condition may be hereditary or environment-related. You also might be putting undue pressure on the toes that your daughters has unconsciously absorbed from your posture. You mention this occurs when you are relaxing, this may mean that you are keeping the toes in a rigid, locked and tense position during the day that causes these effects. Try monitoring the toes at set points throughout the day to notice if you’re doing anything that could be causing this dislocating action to occur. If nothing turns up, visit a local GP to check the condition of the toe joints.

      ToeDoc

  • krissy says:

    I hurt my three middle toes 3 hours ago doing a back flip and when I landed my toes curled up. It hurts a lot even after ice and tylenol and is difficult to move. I can’t go to the doctor until tomorrow anyways so I can
    ‘t go to the doctor within 6 hours.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Krissy,

      Are the toes out of place or just jammed? Severe impact can definitely cause the toe joints some serious pain but a dislocation or sprain usually has bruising, swelling and other side effects that clearly indicate the toe needs special treatment. If you notice any of the symptoms on this page or the broken or sprained toe pages definitely see the doctor, for the time being. Try resting the toe and icing if you feel it’s necessary.

      ToeDoc

  • krissy says:

    Just jammed not out of place. And i can move them now but it still hurts and is swollen

    • Toe Doc says:

      Try icing it for the moment and keeping as much weight off of the toe for the next three days as well as using intermittent icing each day to alleviate the swelling. Wearing protective footwear will also help.

      ToeDoc

  • malia stringer says:

    About 6 days before Christmas I was playing around outside and jumped over a fence. When I landed on the concrete surface I heard a pop and knew something was wrong. I didn’t really pay much mind to it nd went about my business. That night I hit the same toe (fourth on the right foot) against my dresser. I cried I was in so much pain. I woke my dad and he called my mom who works night shifts at the hospital. I begged him to take me up there to her because I knew something was wrong but he thought it was just stove up. He sent me to bed in pain. When I woke up my foot around that area was swollen and bruised. Mom took a look and said it might be broken. So it wasn’t 3 days after the incident that they took me to the orthopedic. He took xrays and confirmed it was dislocated and had small fractures. He pulled the toe back in place and taped it up and sent me home. Its been 6 weeks since the incident. I’ve been working my toe and trying to regain controls over it but it still hurts to move and just stays in one place while the others move around. The bruising just went awake about a week ago.how much longer will it take for it to heal completely. Is it going to feel like this forever? Is it normal for it to take this long to heal?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Malia,

      The fact that the toe was both dislocated AND fractured means that the healing time will be more towards that of a broken toe than a dislocated toe. Multiple fractures can take a long time to heal. It’s excellent that you’ve noticed that there is progress and have been working to increase motor control in the area. Although there may be ways to increase the recovery speed with therapeutic treatment you’re likely still looking at another month of gentle treatment of the toe during the healing period.

      ToeDoc

  • Christina Byrnes says:

    I dislocated my foot 34 plus years ago from a high jump injury. Needless to say my foot was operated on and I had great results. However lately I’ve been having pain on the ball of my foot and have not been able to support standing on my toes. I saw the doctor and he told me I have a distorted toe joint and that he would need to operate. The operation will require a pin to be put in my toe. Could this be a result of my prior injury, over time my foot basically giving out? I cannot recall hurting my foot other that the usual stubbing of my toes.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Christina,

      I can’t be sure as the details of the first operation are quite old, however if your walking style or use of the foot was modified, even slightly then the distorted toe joint may be related. A minor bump to the foot can alter one’s gait and have long term effects on the feet and toes. It may not be injury related and simple part of aging or the result of another problem. Ask your current doctor for another perspective as they may have more insight from the analysis.

      ToeDoc

  • Brit says:

    My pinky toe caught the corner of the bed a week ago and I heard a snap. I went to my general practitioner, they did an x-ray and they said it was broken where the toe meets the foot. Didn’t want to pay the co pay to see an orthopedic so I just buddy wrapped it. I’ve been experiencing a sharp burning pain in my foot when I have my foot propped up to rest it and during the night. When I stand the pain goes away with in seconds. Is this normal during the healing process? Or do I need to go see an orthopedic? Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Brit,

      Try avoiding time with the foot propped up. The break may have created an awkward situation in the toe where raising the foot causes pressure on the joint. Aim to keep the toe below waist level as much as possible over the next week and then try raising the foot again. If the pain has not diminished than it may be time to get an orthopedic perspective. If it does get better than continue on that path until the toe is healed.

      ToeDoc

  • Brit says:

    sounds good, thanks. I unwrapped the buddy tape last night to see if that would help with the nighttime pain and that helped. I only had one episode of the burning sensation in my foot and lower leg. Since unwrapping it though I’ve noticed numbness in my pinky toe as well as the one next to it. There’s also a blister on the outside of my pinky toe, and I haven’t worn any type of closed toe shoe since the injury.Any of this raising red flags? Should I still not elevate for a week? Thanks,Brit

  • Toe Doc says:

    Hi Brit,

    The numbness and blisters may be from displacing your weight across your foot. If you’re putting unequal pressure on certain parts of the foot that are not accustomed to it you’re going to end up with some veins being compressed as well as friction in unusual areas. On top of that the buddy wrapping likely doesn’t aid in reducing numbness.

    If it feels good and the toe is healing than keep following that path. Work to balance advice from your current doctor with what feels right for you in order to prevent short or long term complications.

    ToeDoc

  • Chris Early says:

    Hi Doc,
    I dislocated my middle toe in mid July this past summer. Some seven months ago. I have been to a couple Doctors. The first one was a day after I injured my toe. He said he reset it. I saw another orthopedic doctor 2 1/2 weeks after I did it. He took another x-ray and confirmed it was still dislocated and he wanted to pin my toe to alien the bones. He advised me that it would cause me problems forever if I didn’t do this procedure. I didn’t go for the pin job. It sounded kind of drastic and I figured time would heal things. I have been to see a couple of other doctors and they have said if it dosen’t bother you too much, I would leave it alone and it will get better, but they too said that they could trim the bone and pin it.
    In the morning when I first walk on it, it hurts back into my foot. It is better when I have a hard sole boot on, but even then by the end of the day it is aching and sore. It is still swollen and keeps me from doing some of the sports and hikes I would normally do. Do you think time will heal, or is pinning it a better decision?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Chris,

      If pinning the toe is always going to be an option (meaning 4 week, 8 weeks or 2 years down the road) than why not give the toe a chance to heal on its own. If you find that the toe is beginning than you’ll be glad you took this route. If in two months you find the toe is still giving you major issues it may be time to investigate your other options. If the timing is sensitive look into some other therapeutic options such as active release, physiotherapy, bowen therapy or acupuncture. If these don’t work or you don’t like the options you may want to consider pinning the toe.

      ToeDoc

  • verna says:

    lastnight i hit my fourth toe on my right leg on my table. It got real swollen. I did the rice treatment. But when i woke up in the morning it was purple and very painful. Then i started having numbness in it and tingling and it feels like its freezing.. I was very concerned because i have diabetes so i went to the hospital. They did xrays and said it wasnt broken that i just bruised it. But why is it numb? And what should i do? And should i see a foot dr?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Verna,

      If the x-ray says the toe isn’t broken it may still be sprained or badly jammed. Continue to apply R.I.C.E. treatment and check if the symptoms decrease. The numbness can result from the initial injury but may dissipate as the toe heals. The additional swelling and numbness may also be caused by diabetes or other diseases. For now follow the R.I.C.E. treatment for the next few days and if no improvement is seen than start looking at some alternative therapies or see a local doctor for analysis.

      ToeDoc

  • mia says:

    l’ve been dislocating my littlest toe the one on the right foot like seven times trough the last twenty years the last time it happen was two years ago.until now it happen again. lt was very painful as soon l hit my toe against the vacum l try to pull it myself but l guess it did’nt work, l still could see the bone poping out so the next day Dr.took x-ray and in deed it was misplaced. Now it already past a week and l still can’t move at all my last four toes.The only toe l can move is the the very big and fat. l still have swalleness,feel pinches,and can’t have my foot for more than thirty minutes down cause feels like if it was going to explode can someone tell me what it is or try. l been taking naproxen and using ice patch. l’m tired of sitting or laying with the foot up how long more to recover

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mia,

      Each situation is different. Recovering from a dislocated toe can take up too four weeks depending on how severe the injury is. You don’t ave to spend all day sitting around, you should gently be working into normal activity, just ensure you go cautiously as to not re-injure the toe.

      ToeDoc

      • mia says:

        thanks for replying. l just want to make sure it was normal that after a week l still experience the pinching, pulsing, hotness, swollen, soreness up to the knee. thank you again for helping people like us who have concerns may the lord bless you for your effort. bye

  • Robin says:

    My daughter is 15 years old and has played soccer at the club level since the age of 8. She has been having problems with her toes becoming dislocated during soccer practices, scrimmages and games. It used to be occasionally and it has not come to happen almost daily. She has gotten to the point of popping them back into place. We took her to an Orthopedic Sports Medicine doctor and was told never heard of this and suggested taping it. Still had problem so we took her to a Podiatrist and was told same thing he was able to move her little toes with much elesticity and unstable. He suggest taping also ans said he would have to do research be cause he has never heard of this also. She is double jointed in her thumbs and elbows but no where else. Please help.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Robin,

      Our typical recommendation would be taping the toe as well, but if it’s still popping out of place you may want to try using a harder substance to lock the toe in place. Casting may cause problems if your daughter is active and needs to fit into soccer cleats, so aim for taping and bind with a sturdier gauze. In essence, the goal is to lock the toe in place for a while to prevent the dislocation from occurring. If the toe still dislocates check and see if there’s a thin cast that can keep the toe in one place.

      ToeDoc

  • Jay says:

    I jammed my right big toe several years ago through an accident of kicking some stairs through very thin shoes. I experienced excruciating pain after and while it remained sore for the rest of that day, the pain began to abate. As a result of that jamming, my toe no longer points forward but is slightly angled to the right. The joint (excuse ignorance but the “knuckle”) connecting my toe to my foot sticks out like a bunion and becomes aggravated from strenuous activity like hikes or very long walks or running or sprinting. I am male so I did previously dismiss that this was the formation of a bunion, however I did not have the benefit of being able to see a doctor to diagnose this officially. I can roll my toe and hear/feel it crack (like cracking knuckles) and if I think on it conciously, I become aware of a pain at that joint. This pain is always present though never overpowering, unless of course I am engaged in some kind of activity. So I would like to get your opinion, as to whether it is a bunion since I always assumed it is was the permanent damage of a jammed toe. Also, if there are any tips to alleviate some of the pain or even fix this problem. I always felt that I should be able to just pull my toe and make it better, but I am very scared of dislocating my toe.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Jay,

      The toe may require surgery if you broke it or dislocated it and it healed in an odd fashion. We’d recommend you get an x-ray of the toe and get a doctor’s visible analysis on the swollen joint. If the toe isn’t broken than there could be excess scar tissue that a chiropodist may be able to help you with or some trained in active release technique. Basically you want to determine if the toe requires surgery or therapy by getting a further analysis and then take the necessary steps to heal the toe and get it back into usable condition.

      ToeDoc

  • Bhim Siga says:

    Hello Sir,
    I was injured while playing soccer(bare foot). My fifth metatarsal bone came out of the skin and about 1/4th of it was visible. I immidiately ran to the emergency. The doc x-rayed it and said it was a dislocation and so he numbed and placed it back into position followed by few stitches. He also prescribed me some tablets for infection. What i am worried about is that its been 3 days since the injury but still i cant move my toe. Is there any special treatment or checkup that i should have gone through? I dont feel much pain but i feel a kind of tickling sensation in my injured region.
    Any suggestion regarding self or professional treatment will be helpful.
    p.s. My doc had a bandage wrapped around the wound. I have it still on.
    Thanks.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Bhim,

      The fact that the bone was visible and ruptured the epidermis means that you’re looking at a longer recovery time than three days. You shouldn’t be trying to move the toe at this point in your recovery. Wait for 10 to 14 days before attempting to start moving the toe. The stitches coupled with the wrapping and inflammation will likely severely limit the movement which is why you’re noticing minimal sensation in the area. For now work on letting the toe rest as much as possible. Icing may help but for the most part you’re going to want to provide a safe environment for the toe to heal in which means the least foot movement as possible.

      ToeDoc

  • Toti says:

    I have a history of stubbing my little right toe. I last did it about 2 years ago. I think the tip slightly dislocates and even though it seems back in place swells up and is painful. I did this again last night and came across your website and have been applying the RICE technique. Would it still be painful if the bone was completely back in place or does the continuing pain and swelling indicate that the tip might be slightly out of place? Is there anything else I can do to speed its recovery? Any other advice?

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Toti,

      Stubbing the toe usually causes pain regardless of whether the toe actually becomes dislocated or not. If you have a repetitive injury than you’re more at risk for a true dislocation or chipping of the bone. For now, assuming that you’ve just stubbed the toe, R.I.C.E. treatment will be the number one way to go. If you have dislocated the toe, it should be visibly out of place. During the week try gently moving the toe around with your fingers and increasing movement. If there’s still severe pain in two weeks than the injury is likely more serious and that’s when a doctor visit may be necessary, for now keep using R.I.C.E. treatment for healing.

      ToeDoc

  • Toti says:

    Thanks for the quick response — on a holiday weekend no less. It is not visibly out of place, so, hopefully it will heal up before too long.

  • Mark says:

    I dislocated my toe in the center “nuckle” area and also had a slight fracture. This was 7 months ago and today it still cannot bend down (curling toes) without hurting. I can walk with no problem but bending the toe is not possible and if anything presses on the toe or bump it even slightly, it really hurts. I would not expect this after 7 months, is there something else going on here? Thanks for any advice.

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Mark,

      Are you sure that it was just a dislocation? If the toe hasn’t healed correctly or was broken and never fully recovered than you’re likely experiencing the pain of a joint that is out of place. Sometimes scar tissue can build up and prevent movement and imbalance in the feet, especially while walking. Try visiting a chiropodist or seeking therapeutic treatment such as active release, acupuncture or physiotherapy. Manually massaging the joint may help to, find out where the joint is sore and what movement are specially challenging and work on bringing movement into the toe.

      ToeDoc

  • Heather says:

    I kicked my partners knee in karate 3 days ago. I immediately thought I broke my pinky toe due to the pain and the fact that the skin appeared folded or pinched strangely. I know that buddy taping is the usual course but I decided to get an xray to be sure that it was aligned. I did not get the results of the xray from my doctor but looked at the xray myself since I was given copies. It does not appear broken but it does appear that the 2nd joint in on my pinky is slightly dislocated.

    The pain has been intermittent and I have been icing since the evening it happened. My foot is becoming sore in different spots because I am walking funny so today I tried walking a bit more normally. I must have tweaked it because now I am having significant pain and the foot is a bit more swollen. It is bruised but not excessively so. The skin on that toe and the one next to it and the top of my foot on that side is very very tender.

    Does this sound like a dislocation? Should I be having more pain now than I did a day or two after? Is this something I can fix myself?

    Thanks!

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Heather,

      Sometimes injuries can either flare up a day or two after or the real injury occurs after the “preliminary injury”. You sound like you’re applying the correct treatment if the toe was dislocated. Try buddy wrapping the toe, assuming it has been popped back into place. If the pain is extreme now, you may need to rest for a few days before attempting to tape the toe in place in order to help it heal correctly. The pain should lessen gradually over the next while and from there it will be easier to establish if the injury is just a dislocation or potentially a fracture or break.

      ToeDoc

  • Michele S says:

    Hey Doc! I have just noticed the my left big toes’ knuckle area has a larger bump. It solid to the touch, almost feels like my bone. The thing is I can walk, run, stand on my toes and not have much pain (only when I have my foot angled to the side and the side of my toe is the only thing that has pressure on it) or discoloration.. I am really hoping its nothing big, bc I dont have insurance. Thank you in advance!

    Oh, it also cracks a lot. I’m a server, so I’m used to my feet and ankles cracking…

    It’s also slanted to the left much more then my right foot… I’m sorry for not posting all at once… I’m scatterbrained right now…

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Michele,

      It’s hard to diagnose a bump online but it could be scar tissue built up from a past injury or history of injuries. Try visiting an acupuncturist or chiropodists. Massage therapy, active release or physiotherapy may also work. If the bone is out of place there’s likely going to be more pain than what you’ve described. sometime lumps or bumps may be minor enough to be ignored if they don’t bother you much. For now visit one of the therapists above or podiatrist to get a more thorough analysis.

      ToeDoc

  • ryan says:

    I was at work and I had to get up on my tippi toes as I came down I felt a pop in my toe closest to the big toe and at first it was a numb tingly feeling in that toe and then became painful. There was no discoloration and minimal swelling I pulled on my toe and I herd a pop and felt a sudden pain. It still hurts just the same. Is my toe dislocated or fractured

    • Toe Doc says:

      Hi Ryan,

      The toe may have just dislocated briefly or you may have popped the joint out from stress which can sometimes be liken to a minor sprain or strain. Ice the toe and go easy on it until it starts feeling better. Make sure there’s no undue stress placed on the toe and avoid strenuous activity which may cause further injury to the joint.

      ToeDoc
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