Toe Fracture

You have a broken toe. Unless you have broken the big toe, these injuries usually heal in 2 to 3 weeks. The fifth toe (little toe) is the toe that is broken most often. Pain and swelling are common, and sometimes there is a deformity of the toe. Treatment includes reducing deformity, followed by rest, elevation, ice, mild pain medicine, and taping the toe. For the next 2 to 3 days stay off your feet as much as possible and apply ice packs to the injury for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. Pain with weight bearing often is present until the fracture heals.

When you start walking again, use a shoe with a firm sole and plenty of room to keep the pressure off the broken toe. You can immobilize a toe fracture by taping it to the toe next to it. Place a small cotton ball between the toes to reduce skin rubbing and irritation when you apply the tape. Use paper tape if you are sensitive to adhesive tape. Change the tape every 2 days or more often if it gets wet. For fractures of the big toe, you may need crutches for several weeks and a better way to immobilize your toe such as a splint, cast or fracture boot. The reason for this is that the big toe bears most of your weight when you walk. Follow up with your caregiver as recommended to ensure that your injury is healing.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

You have increased pain, swelling, redness, or deformity of your toe.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.