Do you need to treat a fractured toe bone?
Have you ever stubbed your toe and been told not to worry about it because “nothing can be done about a broken toe”? If so, you have been given horrible advice. All toe fractures can be treated and should, in fact, always be treated. A broken toe that is not treated can lead to long-term pain and swelling. If the fracture is near a joint it can lead to arthritis. Thus, it is imperative that every injured toe be evaluated for a fracture.
Make an appointment to see us in our Seattle office as soon as possible after you stub your toe or suffer any other toe injury. Let our receptionist know that you may have broken your toe and she will get you in right away – usually on the same day.
What we will do for you
First, we will likely take an x-ray to evaluate the seriousness of the injury. If a fracture is present we will make sure the toe is in the correct position to heal properly. If a fracture is present, we will usually immobilize your toe using a special boot or shoe so that the toe will heal properly and so that you can move around without pain. We may also have you wear a special splint to hold the toe straight. On occasion, the fracture is not aligned correctly and we will need to gently manipulate the bone back in place (we will always numb your toe first so that this process is painless). On very rare occasions the fracture is bad enough that surgery is required to prevent problems such as arthritis down the road. Our goal is to treat your injury in the most effective, conservative and painless way possible.
What you should do
Immediately after the injury, ice your foot alternating 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. You should avoid bearing weight on the foot until after the injured toe is evaluated. Stay off your foot as much as possible. If you must move around, use crutches if you can. If crutches are not available, use a cane and keep your weight on your heel. Most important, let us evaluate your toe as soon as possible. If go to an emergency room and x-rays show a fracture, don’t accept the advice to “just tape your toes together”. See a podiatrist for another opinion.
This may all seem like overkill for “just a broken toe”, but every week we see patients in our office who have suffered pain for months and even years because a broken toe was not treated properly. If you have suffered any toe injury, make an appointment to see us.
Figure 1 - Toe Fracture
If you think you may have a toe fracture, contact us for an appointment in our convenient Seattle office.
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Douglas Hale, DPM & Lawrence Huppin, DPM
Foot and Ankle Center of Washington, Seattle
The material provided on this web site is for informative purposes only.
If you need specific medical advice, please contact the office for an appointment.