Buddy Taping

You have a minor finger or toe injury. It can be managed by buddy taping. Buddy taping means the injured finger or toe is taped to a healthy uninjured adjacent finger or toe. Most minor fractures and dislocations of the smaller fingers and toes will heal in 3 to 4 weeks. Buddy taping immobilizes and protects the area of injury. Buddy taping is not recommended for initial treatment of fractures of the thumb, longer fingers, or the great toe. Buddy taping should not be used for unstable or deformed fractures, but as fracture healing progresses it may be used for protection during rehabilitation. Fractured fingers and toes should be protected by buddy taping as long as the injury is still painful or swollen.

When an injury is buddy taped, place a small piece of gauze or cotton between the digits that are taped. This helps prevent the skin from breaking down from increased moisture. Buddy taping allows you to get your injury wet when you bathe. Change the gauze and tape more often if it gets wet, and dry the space between the finger or toes. Use a sturdy, hard-soled shoe for better support if you have a fractured toe. In 2 to 3 weeks you can start motion exercises. This will keep the fingers or toes from becoming stiff.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • The injured area becomes cold, numb, or pale.

  • You have pain not controlled with medications.

  • You notice increasing deformity of the toe or finger.