Dropping a heavy object on your toe or stubbing it against the kitchen counter can be very painful, and it can even lead to a fracture of one of the small bones in our toes. A broken toe can make walking difficult and painful, and odds are you’ll want to do everything in your power to help your toe heal so that you can get back to walking without pain. If you suspect that your toe is broken, should you head to a foot specialist, or can you treat the problem on your own? We explain the common treatment course for a broken toe in today’s blog.
Diagnosing A Broken Toe
If you’re curious as to whether or not you broke your toe, you can head to your primary care physician, a foot specialist or an urgent care facility for X-rays. They’ll be able to view the bones inside the toe and determine if a fracture exists. However, you may be able to skip this step, because treatment for a bruised toe and a broken toe are oftentimes exactly the same. Doctors don’t typically address a broken toe with surgery, so conservative care will be the most common treatment path. You can oftentimes pursue these methods without needing to know if your toe is actually broken. Simply follow conservative care treatments until your pain has subsided.
Some common treatments for bruised or broken toes that should be used in combination with one another include:
- Rest – Resting the area and protecting it from additional stress can help the area heal.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication – Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain medications can help make your toe a little less uncomfortable as the area works to heal over the next few weeks.
- Immobilization – It may be helpful to immobilize the area while you are letting healing run its course. Buddy-taping or a toe cast can help to immobilize the area.
- Stretching Exercises – Once healing has made it so that movement is less painful, doing some mobility exercises can help you regain flexibility in the recovering toe. Simple toe movements and bending exercises can help you reestablish mobility in your toe.
- Icing – Icing can help to limit swelling in the toe. Swelling can slow down the healing process, so icing your toe after injury can help prevent this fluid buildup.
When To See A Doctor For A Broken Toe
Now, not all toe fractures should be treated at home. If you suffered a crush injury to your foot or toes, you may need emergency medical attention. Also, if your pain levels remain high or intensify days or weeks after the initial injury, it’s a sign that there may be more going on than meets the eye, and you should sync up with a specialist. Sometimes a bone can break into more than just two pieces, and surgical intervention may be required to ensure it heals correctly. This is more common when the fracture occurs to the big toe, but if you’re concerned about an injury to any toe, know that a foot specialist can help.
If you want personalized advice for your suspected toe fracture, or if you need help overcoming a different foot or ankle issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.