Like the old song says, “There must be fifty ways to…” – break your toe! Stubbing it on the bedpost, kicking a ball, tripping on a root, falling down the stairs, landing hard while dancing, dropping a barbell on it – any one of these can harm the bones (phalanges) in your toes and cause a phalangeal fracture. Our toes are a complex set of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, and they are used for so many of our movements that harming them almost seems inevitable. A broken toe may be hardly noticeable, or it could really leave you hobbling, depending on how severe the break is.
Is My Toe Broken?
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a bruise, a sprain, and a break. Pain, swelling, bruising and stiffness might be present with all three, but if it hurts to put even a little weight on it, or the toe has an odd bump or looks a funny shape, it is more likely to be broken. Complications from a broken toe could be immediate (like difficulty putting on shoes or walking, or pooled blood under a toenail) or they could develop over time (like the bones not healing properly or arthritis forming in them).
Quick Action for a Fracture
Here’s what to do if you’ve injured your toe. First, take pressure off the toe and rest it. Next, ice and elevate it to reduce swelling and pain. If the skin is pierced and the bone is showing through, it is a medical emergency. You will want to have the experts at Country Foot Care on Long Island take a look at it right away. The same is true if the toe feels numb or cold, if there is drainage or bleeding in the area, or if the skin color is blue or gray. Third, if it seems a minor injury, keep off it and watch for a day or so to see if it starts to improve. If not, come and see us so we can determine the extent of the injury or fracture.
How We Treat Toe Fractures
A simple fracture may need only rest and time to heal. If necessary, we may buddy tape it to its neighboring toe to keep it stable, or use a splint until it heals. For more serious breaks, the toe may have to be put back into position and a cast applied. In some cases, the bones are so damaged that only surgery will enable them to heal correctly without causing long term problems. A toe fracture can take 6 weeks to heal, and we may want to check it during that time to make sure all is going well.
Country Foot Care has offices in New York, which offer state-of-the-art foot care in a boutique setting. Call us at 516-741-FEET (3338) and let us pamper you and put you on the road to recovery! Visit our online contact page to request an appointment today.