Injuring a toe can be very painful, but it’s difficult to know when you should see a podiatrist or doctor for your injury. Find out more about toe injuries and whether you should seek the help of a professional by reading on.
Whether you have stubbed your toe, stumbling around in the dark at home or dropped something on your foot at work, toe injuries are no joke. Stubbing your toe can cause a lot of pain almost instantly so it’s no surprise we may think we have broken our toe when in fact it’s merely bruised.
In most cases, thankfully, the pain will subside within a day or so, and you can go about your daily life with no troubles again. If, however, the pain does continue, you should seek the help of a professional. Don’t swallow some painkillers, tape up your toe and assume it will all be ok. Your feet are the foundation of your body and carry you everywhere you need to be, so they should be cared for properly.
If you are still experiencing pain after some time has passed, it might be that you have badly bruised your toe, knocked it out of place or accidentally forced it into an odd angle. If this is the case, your podiatrist may be able to relocate your toe and prevent it from causing problems further down the line such as arthritis or a bunion.
How do I know if I have broken my toe or if it is just bruised?
While it may feel similar, a bruise on the bone is not as bad as a broken toe. A broken toe will be difficult to apply any weight or pressure to and will not be moved very easily. You can usually quickly tell if a toe is fractured as it could be facing the wrong direction. Some other symptoms of a broken toe include:
Severe bruising, redness or swelling
Unable to put weight on your foot
What can be done at home for a broken toe?
When stubbing or injuring your toe, your initial reaction may be to reach for the ice to prevent swelling. While this may help in some cases, it’s actually not the right thing to do for a broken toe. Applying ice will slow the blood flow and prevent inflammation; however, you need the inflammation for the healing process to begin. The best thing you should do is rest your foot, elevating if possible, take some pain relieving medication like ibuprofen and let time take care of your toe.
There are some instances where this is not the case; if your toe shows any of the following symptoms after an injury, you should seek the help of a health care professional as soon as possible.
– Bone is poking through the skin
– Your toe is severely out of position
– Your toe is pointing the wrong direction
– You have a deep wound or cut
If this isn’t the case, you can rest your toe and the pain should subside. If you have cut your toe at all, ensure it is kept clean to prevent infection.
Professional help for a broken toe
Professional help with a toe injury will first come with an assessment to diagnose the injury on your toe. Typically, a broken toe will still be aligned; if this is the case, your foot specialist or doctor may recommend a fracture boot. This is a hard-soled shoe that takes the pressure off your toes as you walk and perform day-to-day tasks. It is not a giant boot that hinders mobility.
If your toe is more severely broken and misaligned, your healthcare professional may need to straighten it before advising you to wear a fracture shoe. This can usually be done using a local anaesthetic if the misalignment isn’t too far out. If there is a significant change in the location of your toe, you may need surgery to correct its position.
Should you tape a broken toe?
In short, no. Taping a broken toe can actually cause more harm than good by pulling the toe into the wrong position and preventing the healing process. If taping is deemed to be the correct form of treatment, this diagnosis should come from a podiatrist. Your podiatrist will then teach you the correct method of taping your toe to prevent further injury and aid in the healing process.
How long does it take to heal a broken toe?
Results may differ for some people in regards to how long it takes to heal a broken too; this is because people’s activity levels, diet and overall healing speed can vary. In most cases, you will have much less pain after just four weeks and in eight weeks shouldn’t experience any pain and should be back to walking normally. After twelve weeks, your toe should be fully healed, and you can go back to performing your everyday activities and exercises like jumping and running.
If you have sustained a toe injury recently and would like a professional opinion, contact us today or book an appointment online.