Toe injuries are fairly common since toes can be hurt by dropping things on them or by getting stepped on. Stubbing your toe on a coffee table or other hard object is very painful too. Although the pain is often intense with these injuries, the pain usually goes away fairly quickly. You might wonder at the time if your toe is broken, but the pain from a broken toe usually lasts much longer. Here are some signs of a broken toe and how a foot specialist might treat it.
Signs Of A Toe Fracture
Sometimes a broken toe is obvious because the bone comes through the skin or the toe is bent at an odd angle. However, many broken toes are not as serious, and the primary signs are swelling and bruising. The toe is painful when you walk on it, and the pain doesn't go away. You might feel the bones moving when you put pressure on your foot or when you rub your toe.
Medical Treatments For A Broken Toe
Your podiatrist may verify the fracture by taking x-rays of your toe. If necessary, the toe may be adjusted manually to align the bones so they can heal properly. If this is necessary, your toe will be numbed first. Taping the toe next to a neighbor toe is the usual method of stabilizing the fracture. Your podiatrist will show you how to wrap and tape the toe at home until the bones have knitted together. You might also be given a special shoe to wear that supports the toe and prevents further injury. It has a hard, straight sole and soft top so no pressure is put on your toe that causes discomfort. If you have a serious fracture, a foot specialist may need to set your bone with surgery, but in many cases, the bone will heal on its own gradually.
Home Care For A Broken Toe
Staying off your foot keeps your toe protected, and it reduces swelling. Rest with your foot elevated, and try using ice to control the pain. Your podiatrist will let you know when you can return to work, depending on the type of work you do and the severity of your fracture. You may need to stay home and off your foot for a while, but you might not need to miss any work at all as long as your pain is under control. Over-the-counter pain medication may be enough to help the pain. The important thing is to keep your toe protected while it repairs itself so you don't cause further injury and pain by stubbing it again.