I think I have a broken toe; now what?

A common misconception is that nothing can be done about a broken toe, so there’s no need to see a doctor.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Delaying evaluation by a foot specialist may only prolong your pain and downtime, and could even lead to long-term complications that could have been avoided.

broken toe

Toe fractures are a common reason patients come to see the doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle.  We often hear “I caught my baby toe on the corner of a chair or bed”.  It is often this 5th toe that is injured.  (Suggestion:  turn your light on when walking to the bathroom at night.)

It can be difficult to be certain that your toe is broken without x-rays, as sprains and bone bruises can also cause pain, swelling and bruising.  Therefore, it’s important that a thorough evaluation be performed by your podiatrist, which will include an x-ray to confirm if your toe is fractured.  You should definitely see a podiatrist if your pain or bruising becomes worse, if there is a wound associated with the injury, if the toe is crooked or angled, or if you have any underlying systemic condition such as diabetes.

Treatment of a well aligned non-displaced toe fracture often involves buddy splinting the toe to the adjacent toe, immobilizing the toe with a surgical shoe or walking boot, ice, rest and elevation, and anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and swelling.  If the toe is not aligned well because of the fracture, your podiatrist may need to set it, or re-position it, under local anesthesia.  Occasionally, surgery may be necessary to realign the toe properly.

Toe fractures take four to six weeks to heal, so expect to wear a surgical shoe or boot and be sidelined from exercising for at least four weeks.

After that, your activity level will be based on your symptoms, so you should use pain as a guide for returning to activities.  This decision is best made with the help of your local Kansas City podiatrist

If you’ve injured your toe, make sure that you have a proper evaluation by one of our podiatrists at Kansas City Foot and Ankle.  You don’t want a broken toe to go untreated.  Give our office a call at 816-943-1111 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.