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Fractured toe symptoms: Broken Toe 101 – Symptoms & Treatments


Broken Toe 101 – Symptoms & Treatments

A broken toe, also known as a toe fracture, is a very common injury, especially in athletes and those with active lifestyles. Out of the five toes (also known as digits of the feet) the pinky toe is the most commonly broken toe with the fracture often occurring at the base of the toe.

Your toes make up a portion of your foot referred to as the forefoot. Four of your toes are comprised of 3 bones called phalanges, and two joints. The big toe, however, is made up of only two bones and one joint.

The three smaller bones, or phalanges, of the toes are the:

  • Proximal – bone closest to the foot
  • Middle
  • Distal – the end of the toe

The big toe only has the proximal and distal phalanx bones.

Types of toe fractures

There are several ways to categorize your toe fractures:

  • Stress fracture – caused by repetitive activity / overuse
  • Non-displaced – bones are cracked but have not broken apart
  • Displaced – ends of the broken toe have separated completely or partially from the rest of the bone
  • Open fractures – skin is broken and the bone is protruding
  • Closed fracture – skin is not broken and the bone is contained
  • Avulsion fracture – small chip fracture most commonly caused by tendon pulling off bone

With the numerous small bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your toes it can be hard to identify what type of injury you are suffering from. That is why it’s so important to see one of our podiatrists as soon as possible, so we can quickly identify your injury and prevent it from worsening.

What Causes a Broken Toe

Some of the most common causes of broken toes include:

  • Overuse
  • Stubbing or banging your toe against something hard
  • Rolling your toe
  • Dropping a hard and/or heavy object on your toe
  • Wearing poor footwear
  • Osteoporosis

How to Tell if a Toe is Broken: Symptoms & Identification

Broken toes are some of the most common breaks of the foot and are frequently marked by symptoms like:

  • Severe bruising
  • Intense & throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty walking
  • Toenail discoloration
  • Crooked & misshapen appearance of the toe

Big Toe

Broken toes often occur in athletes and those maintaining active lifestyles; broken big toes (or “great toes”) are particularly common for these individuals. These breaks are often referred to as “turf toe.” Turf toe is caused by excessive and repetitive pushing off of the big toe when making explosive movements (e.g. running & jumping), and can vary from a sprain to a broken bone with ligament damage. If you’re experiencing severe pain from your big toe after athletic or strenuous activity you may need to be examined for a break.

Broken Toe Myths & Misconceptions

Although broken toes are well known, the treatment of them seems to be clouded with many unknowns and falsehoods. Here are the common responses you should be skeptical of next time someone tries to give you “advice” for your broken toe:

Should I see a doctor for a broken toe?

“There’s nothing a doctor can do for a broken toe.” – False. This is not only untrue, but can be harmful. If a fractured toe is not treated promptly and correctly, serious complications may develop!

Can you move a broken toe?

“If you can still move it then it’s not broken.” – False. This is another harmful old wives’ tale. Although it may be possible to move and walk on your broken toe, you should avoid doing so as this can lead to even greater damage and prolonged healing time.

Should you soak a broken toe?

“Any toe injury should be soaked in hot water or with Epsom salts immediately!” – False. If you suspect your toe (or any bone) is broken, hot water or any heat applied to the area can make it worse! Heat causes an increase in blood flow, which leads to more swelling and more pain. Instead, apply an ice pack for a maximum of 15-20 minutes to help numb your toe and decrease swelling. However, it’s important to not overdo it as too much ice may cause frostbite.

What to Do for a Broken Toe: Care & Treatment

Broken toes don’t usually require x-rays as both broken and badly bruised/injured toes are often treated with the same methods.

Broken and injured toes are often treated through:

  • Ice
  • Rest
  • Splinting, known as “buddy taping,” where the broken toe is taped alongside a neighboring healthy toe
  • Casting, if the toe has become dislocated
  • Wearing podiatrist-provided stiff-soled shoes to support the fracture
  • Pain & anti-inflammatory medication

Fractures of the big, or great, toe are often more severe than breaks to the others. If the joint is disrupted or the bones have become dislocated, the toe may require surgery.

Improper or Delayed Treatment

If your toe fracture is not properly handled, or treatment is delayed you may experience a wide range of consequences and side effects, including:

  • Motion limiting deformity & long-term dysfunction
  • Development of arthritis around the fracture
  • Non-healing & worsening of the fracture
  • Development of chronic pain
  • Compound fractures & infection
  • Difficulty wearing shoes

Early examination and treatment of any fracture is essential for proper healing. At Advanced Foot & Ankle our podiatrists have extensive training and experience in the non-surgical and surgical treatments of any foot, ankle, or toe fracture.

Once we identify a fracture, we develop a treatment specifically for your injury striving to correct your injury non-surgically and only suggesting surgery when it’s absolutely necessary.

If you’re experiencing any foot, toe or ankle pain contact us today, and schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located Middle Tennessee locations.

Suspect a Broken Toe? How to Tell – And What Not To Do – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Maybe it happened while stumbling around your house barefoot in the dark. Maybe it was while running barefoot up a flight of stairs. But we’ve all done it: stubbed a toe hard. In those first few moments of blinding pain, you might wonder if you’ve broken your toe.

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For most of us, thankfully, the pain subsides and things get back to normal fairly quickly. But if pain persists and you suspect a broken toe, resist the temptation to tape up your toe, take a bunch of pain relievers and ignore it. There’s good reason to see a physician immediately if you suspect a broken toe, says sports and medical orthopaedist Dominic King, DO.

“Any time you think you may have broken a toe, even though it may seem like a very simple problem, you should be evaluated by a medical professional,” Dr. King says.

Why? Your toe bone may have been pulled out of proper alignment or pushed into an incorrect angle, and if so, it’s important to get this corrected, Dr. King says. Even if it’s a simple fracture, your toe could heal improperly, which can cause problems down the road, such as arthritis.

Help your toe heal right

Your doctor will likely use an X-ray to determine if your toe is broken and what treatment is needed.

If the break is a simple fracture, in which the parts of your bone are still lined up properly, your doctor will probably put you in a walking boot for about three weeks, Dr. King says. The walking boot keeps your toes immobile so the bones can knit back together in alignment.

If your toe bone is at an incorrect angle, your doctor may numb the toe and then straighten it immediately. Afterward, you may be required to wear a walking boot.

If you have significant displacement or your toe is dislocated, you might need surgery to realign the bone.

Should I just tape it?

Taping a suspected broken toe can help alleviate pain if the break is simple and the bones are aligned. However, this won’t help the break to heal correctly, so it’s important to see a doctor, Dr. King says. If you had a bad break, taping your toes could actually make things worse, he says.

One way to know whether your toe is broken is if you can put weight on the foot. If you can walk on it without pain or limping, it probably is not broken. If so, try icing the injury and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, Dr. King says. However, if severe pain or swelling persists, see a doctor.

Also, observe your injured toe carefully, Dr. King says. If it has a deep cut or wound, your bone might be exposed to air and so should be evaluated by a physician. Other clues to a broken toe include swelling, discoloration and bruising.

If your toe is at a different angle than the toe on the other side — and it wasn’t before your injury — seek medical help right away, Dr. King says.

Broken toe – Symptoms and causes


A broken toe is a common injury that’s most frequently caused by dropping something on your foot or stubbing your toe.

Usually, you can treat a broken toe by taping it to a neighboring toe. But if the fracture is severe — particularly if it involves your big toe — you may need a cast or even surgery to ensure proper healing.

Most broken toes heal well, usually within four to six weeks. Sometimes, a broken toe may become infected or increase the risk of osteoarthritis in that toe in the future.

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Signs and symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration

When to see a doctor

Consult a doctor if the pain, swelling and discoloration continue for more than a few days or if the injury interferes with walking or wearing shoes.


A broken toe typically happens when you drop something heavy on your foot or you stub your toe against something hard.


Complications may include:

  • Infection. If the skin is cut near your injured toe, you are at higher risk of developing an infection in the bone.
  • Osteoarthritis. This wear-and-tear type of arthritis is more likely to occur when the fracture extends into one of the toe joints.

Nov. 03, 2020

Show references

  1. Eiff MP, et al. Toe fractures. In: Fracture Management for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 22, 2017.
  2. Buttaravoli P, et al. Toe fracture (broken toe). In: Minor Emergencies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 22, 2017.
  3. Gravlee JR, et al. Toe fractures in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 22, 2017.
  4. Azar FM, et al. Fractures and dislocations of the foot. In: Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 22, 2017.


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Broken Toe | What To Do & When To See A Doctor

What causes a broken toe?

A broken (fractured) toe is an injury normally caused by either dropping a heavy object on the toe or stubbing the toe hard. Generally it takes quite a lot of force to break a bone. However, toe bones are more vulnerable because they are small bones and because they are on the edge of the body, so are more likely to be injured in the first place. A broken little toe, caused by stubbing it, may be particularly common due to its position.

Occasionally, broken toes may occur in association with other complex injuries, such as after a fall from height on to the feet, or because of a road traffic accident.

What are the symptoms of a broken toe?

Breaking a bone (fracture), as long as your nerves work properly, is a very painful injury. Broken bones bleed, so the area will swell quickly. It will eventually bruise as the blood travels through to the skin. You may be able to see blood beneath the toenail.

In addition, the two ends of the broken bone may be out of line (displaced), or the break may go into the toe joint. In this case the toe will look misshapen.

It’s painful to walk on a broken toe. This is particularly the case for a broken big toe, as this toe takes more of our weight when we walk.

It can be difficult to be certain that your toe is broken, as sprains and strains can also be painful and tender. A misshapen toe usually means a break or dislocation; severe swelling or bruising is suggestive of a break but often the only way to be sure is with an X-ray. Don’t worry if you’re not sure whether your toe is broken or not, since the treatment is generally the same for a break as it is for a sprain, as long as it’s not your big toe that you have injured and the toe is not misshapen.

Do I need to see a doctor if I have broken my toe?

You don’t always need to see a doctor for a broken (fractured) toe. You can manage a fractured toe very safely yourself as long as it isn’t your big toe, isn’t crooked or out of line and there is no skin wound over or near the fracture.

You should, however, see a doctor for your broken toe if:

  • The pain becomes worse and isn’t relieved by normal painkillers.
  • The swelling and bruising don’t start to improve in a few days.
  • There is an open wound associated with the break.
  • You have a medical condition that may affect your healing – for example, diabetes, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease.
  • You are taking oral steroids.

You should go to an accident and emergency department if:

  • The toe goes numb or tingly. This suggests pressure on, or damage to, the nerves to the toe (which run up the side of the toe, one on each side).
  • The skin on the toes has turned blue (other than bruising) or grey and is cold to the touch when the other toes are not.
  • The toe is bent at an angle or with an open wound.
  • The injured toe is your big toe.
  • You have more than one fractured toe.
  • The injured person is a child: children may need a special boot for walking. It can be difficult to be certain that the child’s toe is not misaligned without an X-ray.
  • The accident in which you damaged your toe was severe – for example, a fall from a height or a road traffic accident (you may have other injuries).

What do I do for a broken toe?

Broken toe treatment depends on which toe you have injured and how badly. If your broken (fractured) toe is not displaced, it is not your big toe and the skin is not broken then you may be able to manage it at home yourself, as long as none of the conditions above apply. Rest, ice and elevation are recommended for initial management to help reduce bruising, swelling and pain, and therefore shorten recovery time.

  • Rest: means not putting excessive weight on the toe and not standing for too long.
  • Ice: beyond 72 hours ice is no longer beneficial. Hold an ice pack to the toe for 15-20 minutes every one to two hours for the first couple of days. See the separate leaflet called Heat and Ice Treatment for Pain for more information.
  • Elevation: this means sitting or lying with your foot up, as high as is comfortable. It is helpful for as long as the toe is swollen but particularly for the first 24 hours.
  • How to wrap a broken toe: for the smaller four toes, put a little padding such as gauze, cotton wool or some tissue between the toe and the one next to it. Then tape them together. This is sometimes called buddy taping or buddy strapping. The uninjured toe acts as a splint. Make sure the tape isn’t too tight. Also make sure you remove it and apply fresh tape and padding after washing your injured foot.
  • Pain relief: take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve the pain. Ibuprofen gel applied to the toe may be helpful if the skin isn’t broken.
  • Protection: wear sturdy shoes with stiff soles, that don’t squash or bend the toe.

You can begin normal activity once the swelling has gone down and you’re able to wear a protective shoe comfortably.

How is a broken big toe treated?

A broken (fractured) big toe may be put in a cast to support it, as it takes much more of your weight than the other toes and is also needed for balance.

The big toe is more likely than the smaller toes to need surgery in order to heal properly and to be as strong as it was before you broke it. Even if surgery is not required, you may be given crutches so you can walk without putting weight on the toe.

What is the treatment for a badly broken toe?

If there is a lot of blood under the nail this may put pressure on the nail and make it very painful. Your accident and emergency department may make a small hole in the nail with a heated needle in order to allow the blood to escape, or they might remove the nail. However, they will be cautious if there is a break (fracture) beneath the nail, as if the nail is intact it will protect the break underneath from infection.

If the skin is broken then you may need antibiotic medication to prevent an infection in the fracture, which would interfere with healing and could spread further into the foot.

If your toe is crooked, particularly if the fracture is through one of the toe joints, your toe may need to be put back into line and held with metal pins. You will be given local anaesthetic injections to numb the area – normally one on each side of the toe at the base. Doctors may then be able to realign the toe without operating on it.

If surgery is needed this can be done in several ways:

  • With a metal wire (called a K-wire) which is inserted through the tip of the toe, down its length. K-wires are smooth and slim. They are inserted with a special drilling device, usually under anaesthetic. The wire can be pulled out fairly painlessly by the surgeon once the bones have healed, usually 3-4 weeks later.
  • With internal wiring or metal plates which can’t be seen from the outside and which stay permanently in place.
  • External fixation with pins and bars may be needed for a complicated broken toe.

A plaster cast might then be put over the foot to keep everything firmly in place whilst it all heals. You might need crutches or a special boot.

How long does a broken toe take to heal?

This depends on which toe you have injured and how badly. It will also depend on how old you are, as bones generally take longer to heal the older you are.

  • Broken big toe:
    • 2-3 weeks in a walking boot or cast, then
    • 3-4 weeks in a stiff-soled shoe.
    • Return to work and sport in 6-8 weeks is usual.
  • Broken lesser toes, including broken pinky toe:
    • Buddy strapping and use of a stiff-soled shoe.
    • Walking when bearable.
    • Usually healed completely within 4-6 weeks

What are the possible complications of a broken toe?

Well-healed broken (fractured) toes usually cause no ongoing problems. The possible complications, which are more likely to happen after severe breaks, include:

  • Failed healing of the bones: this can either mean the bones heal in a crooked state or that they don’t heal together at all. In either case further surgery may be needed.
  • Bone infection: this is called osteomyelitis and can be very persistent. There is a risk of this if the skin over the fractured toe is damaged. A long course of antibiotics or further surgery may be needed.
  • Toe stiffness is a common consequence of a broken toe, particularly if the joint was involved. Joints anywhere in the body which have had blood in them have a tendency to become stiffer. Physiotherapy exercises may help.
  • Pain: it is quite common to have occasional aches and pains in a bone that has been broken, particularly after heavy use. More severe pain suggests further treatment is needed.
  • Skin injury from buddy strapping that is too tight or isn’t removed when the foot is washed and remains wet.

Broken toe: Symptoms, pictures, and treatment

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Although the bones in the toes are small, they play an essential role in walking and balance. Their crucial role in everyday life means that a broken toe can be inconvenient and extremely painful.

Although some people believe that there is nothing to be done about a broken toe, this is not always the case. In fact, most toe fractures should be evaluated by a health professional. If left untreated, a broken toe can lead to painful problems later.

Toe injuries are common, so it is a good idea to know the symptoms of a broken toe and when to see a doctor.

Share on PinterestA broken toe may cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the nature and location of the break.

Symptoms of a broken toe will vary from person to person. Some people may be able to continue walking on the toe after a break, while others may find the pain debilitating.

Factors that can affect symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • the severity of the break
  • whether the broken bone has moved out of its proper location (been displaced)
  • how it was broken
  • where it is broken, including whether it is near a joint
  • other medical conditions, such as gout or arthritis

There are a few ways a toe could break. These include stress fractures, falls, and dropping an object on the foot.

Because the symptoms vary so widely and breaks can be mild to severe, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a broken toe and another injury, such as a muscle sprain or a bad bruise.

The symptoms of each type of break are as follows:

Traumatic fractures: A memorable break

A broken toe is often the result of a painful and significant event, such as falling, stubbing the toe very hard, or dropping an object on the toe. These types of breaks are known as traumatic fractures.

Traumatic fractures can range from minor to severe. Sometimes, a person hears a “pop” or “crack” sound as the bone breaks, but this is not always the case.

The symptoms of a traumatic fracture will begin immediately after the event, and may include:

  • pain that does not go away with rest
  • throbbing
  • bruising
  • swelling
  • redness

Many traumatic fractures feature a visible bruise that is dark purple, gray, or black.

These symptoms can persist for several weeks if they are left untreated.

Stress fractures: Long-term damage

Stress fractures are usually small hairline breaks that occur after repeated stress on the bone. They are a type of overuse injury and often occur in bones of the legs and feet.

Stress fractures may occur months or years after starting an activity, such as running, that puts stress on the bones.

Stress fractures often occur when muscles in the toe become too weak to absorb impact. Without the support of the muscle, the toe bone becomes vulnerable to pressure and impact. Too much stress on the bone eventually causes it to crack.

Symptoms of a stress fracture in the toe include:

  • pain that occurs after activities such as walking or running
  • pain that goes away with rest
  • soreness or tenderness when touched
  • swelling without bruising

Displaced fractures

A displaced fracture means the broken bone has moved out of place. This may occur with more severe traumatic fractures.

A displaced fracture in the toe can cause the toe to appear crooked. In some cases, a displaced fracture may break the skin and result in the bone protruding out of a wound.

In most cases, a podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or family doctor will diagnose a broken toe using a physical exam and an X-ray.

A doctor can often see a displaced fractures with a visual exam of the toe, but they may still recommend an X-ray to assess the damage and determine what treatment is needed.

Seeing a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and following instructions about how to care for the toe may encourage healing. Treatment for a broken toe includes:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.). R.I.C.E. is useful for many types of injuries, including broken toes. It can decrease pain and help the toe heal faster. This may be all that a person needs to treat a minor toe fracture.
  • Buddy taping. This involves wrapping the toe and taping it to the adjacent toe to keep it supported and protected.
  • A post-surgery shoe or boot. These devices have a stiff sole that allows a person to walk without bending the toe. It also helps keep some of the body’s weight off of the sore toe.
  • Bone setting. For more severe displaced fractures, a doctor may need to put the bones back in their proper place for healing. This is usually done with numbing medicine to decrease pain.
  • Surgery. For more serious toe fractures, surgery may be needed. Surgeons may need to place a pin in the toe to align the bones and enable it to heal in the right place.
  • Antibiotics or a tetanus shot. Additional medications might be needed to prevent infection if the skin was broken during the break.

There is a selection of ice packs and tape available for purchase online.

Share on PinterestGetting immediate treatment and following medical advice can reduce the risk of complications.

A broken toe that is left untreated can cause:

  • Long-term pain in the toe. Broken bones can cause ongoing pain if they are not allowed to heal properly. Walking on the broken toe too soon can delay or prevent healing. This may cause pain for months or even years after the injury.
  • Arthritis in the affected joint. A person may develop arthritis if the bone is broken near a joint in the toe and is not correctly aligned before it heals.
  • Permanent deformity of the bones in the toe. A deformity can lead to problems with moving the toe and walking. It can also cause rubbing, pain, or discomfort when wearing shoes.
  • Infection. A displaced fracture that breaks the skin is at risk of developing an infection. Bacteria can enter through the broken skin, and some of these infections can be life-threatening.

Injuries and accidents are not always avoidable, but the following steps may help minimize the risk of breaking a toe:

  • Avoid wearing non-supportive shoes, such as flip-flops. Flip-flops offer little support to the foot, which can cause unnecessary strain on the muscles and bones. They also increase the risk of a person stubbing their toe and offer no protection for the toes during a fall.
  • Replace footwear when the soles begin to wear out. When shoe soles get worn and smooth, they increase the risk of falls that could lead to a toe injury. Examine the bottom of shoes regularly to look for signs of wear.
  • Improve balance and posture. Regular physical activity, including strength training and balance exercises, can reduce the risk of slips and falls that result in toe fractures.
  • Keep diabetes under control. People with diabetes are at risk of neuropathy, which damages the nerves in the feet. This can lead to balance problems, more falls, and injuries to the feet that take longer to heal.

Broken toes are often able to heal on their own. Nevertheless, it is best to see a healthcare professional for correct treatment to ensure the bone heals properly.

Proper medical care ensures that a minor break now does not lead to a significant issue later.

When is it serious, and what are the treatments?

A stubbed toe may seem to be a minor injury. However, it can be intensely painful. Stubbing a toe can even cause breaks, sprains, broken nails, and infections.

The pain of a stubbed toe usually subsides after a few minutes. In some cases, however, the impact could break the toe or the toenail, causing intense pain that may get worse over hours or days.

In most cases, people can treat the injury at home and medication can help with the pain.

This article looks at the symptoms of a stubbed toe, how to tell if a toe is broken or sprained, some treatments, and a range of home remedies.

A stubbed toe is the name for any injury that happens when a person suddenly hits or jams their toe.

Some common causes include accidentally kicking the toe into a wall or doorframe, tripping over a toy on the floor, or catching the toe on a gate or other object.

The symptoms of a stubbed toe are similar at first, regardless of whether the injury is serious or minor. They include:

  • intense pain that can be either dull or sharp
  • pain that radiates elsewhere in the foot or ankle
  • pain when putting weight on the injured area

Stubbed toes can hurt a lot, even when the injury is not serious. This is because there are many nerves in the toe, including two nerves on either side.

There is little fat to cushion the toes, which can intensify the pain and increase the risk of injuries such as bone bruises and fractures.

It can be difficult to self-diagnose a stubbed toe. Strains, sprains, bone contusions, and broken toes can all feel very similar.

If symptoms do not improve after a few minutes, it may mean that the toe is broken.

Stubbing the toe can result in several different injuries:

Broken or fractured toe

A broken toe or a toe fracture is a break in one of the 14 toe bones. It can be very painful and make it difficult to walk.

Although many fractures heal on their own, a doctor may need to surgically repair a severe fracture.

Symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • swelling around the toe and sometimes into the foot
  • discoloration, such as black or blue bruising, around the toe
  • a change in the shape of the toe, if a bone is out of place
  • trouble moving the toe
  • significant pain when walking or putting weight on the toe
  • pain that gets worse over several hours
  • a loss of feeling in the toe or foot
  • a visible bone poking into the skin, which can occur after trauma, such as closing the toe in a heavy door

The symptoms of a bone bruise, strain, and sprain are similar to those of a broken toe.

Sprains and strains

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect the bones of the toe. A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon.

Mild strains and sprains may just stretch a ligament, muscle, or tendon. However, more severe injuries can tear the tissue.

Learn more about the differences between sprains and strains here.

Bone bruise

A bone bruise is a deep bruise that injures blood vessels in or around the bone.

They can be intensely painful, but they will usually heal within a couple of months. A bone bruise does not show up on an X-ray.

Toenail injuries

Share on PinterestA person with a toenail injury may find it difficult to walk for several weeks.

Injuries to the toenails can be very painful, especially if the toenail breaks deep in the nail plate. If the injury is serious enough to bleed, it may be painful to walk for several weeks.

Sometimes the toenail falls off, either right after stubbing the toe or weeks later.

People may notice the following injuries after stubbing their toe:

  • a cracked or broken nail
  • bleeding along the edge of, or underneath, the toenail
  • swelling or pain under the toenail
  • pus or fluid under the toenail

Subungual hematoma

A subungual hematoma is a spot of blood under the toenail.

Severe hematomas can cause large blood spots and intense, painful pressure. Hematomas, regardless of size, often cause the toenail to fall off.

It can take 6–9 months for a subungual hematoma to disappear.

Toe infections

If the impact from stubbing a toe causes broken skin or nails, bacteria can enter the skin to cause an infection.

If the skin is broken, it is important to keep the toe clean and covered and to see a doctor for symptoms of an infection. People with diabetes or a weakened immune system are more vulnerable to toe and foot infections.

Skin infections along the nail are called paronychia.

Symptoms of an infected toe include:

  • redness and swelling
  • tenderness or pain
  • fluid or pus collecting under the skin around the nail
  • discoloration or thickening of the nail
  • pain or itching around the toenail, even many months after the injury

After stubbing the toe, massaging or shaking the foot can distract from the pain and increase blood flow.

If the injury is more serious, a number of strategies can help with the pain:

  • Try gently taping a broken toe to a nearby toe.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Try rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE method). Avoid putting weight on the injury and apply an ice pack for 10–20 minutes at a time. Wrap or bandage the area to reduce swelling and elevate the foot above the heart when lying or sitting.
  • Soak an injured toenail in warm water or Epsom salts.
  • Apply a numbing cream or spray to an injured toenail.

If the injury is severe, a doctor might recommend surgery or physical therapy.

Share on PinterestIf the toe is very swollen or the pain is severe, a person should seek medical advice.

See a doctor if:

  • the toe is very swollen
  • the pain is severe and does not go away after several hours
  • it is difficult to walk or to put weight on the foot
  • the toenail falls off or the area around it is very swollen
  • there are signs of infection around the toenail, such as itching, redness, and pus

Go to the emergency room if:

  • the bone is visible
  • the toe looks crooked or misshapen
  • a broken toenail does not stop bleeding after several minutes
  • the pain is unbearable
  • the toe is numb, as this may indicate a nerve injury

A stubbed toe can be extremely painful. Massaging or shaking the area sometimes helps. When the pain does not go away, it may mean that there is a more serious injury.

Although many toe injuries heal on their own, prompt medical care can speed healing and help with the pain.

Toe and Metatarsal Fractures (Broken Toes)

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The structure of the foot is complex, consisting of bones, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Of the 28 bones in the foot, 19 are toe bones (phalanges) and metatarsal bones (the long bones in the midfoot). Fractures of the toe and metatarsal bones are common and require evaluation by a specialist. A foot and ankle surgeon should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.

What Is a Fracture?

A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.

Traumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact, such as seriously stubbing your toe. Traumatic fractures can be displaced or nondisplaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (malpositioned).

Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:

  • You may hear a sound at the time of the break.
  • Pinpoint pain (pain at the place of impact) at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.
  • Crooked or abnormal appearance of the toe.
  • Bruising and swelling the next day.


It is not true that “if you can walk on it, it’s not broken.” Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is always recommended.

Stress fractures are tiny hairline breaks usually caused by repetitive stress. Stress fractures often afflict athletes who, for example, too rapidly increase their running mileage. They can also be caused by an abnormal foot structure, deformities or osteoporosis. Improper footwear may also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures should not be ignored. They require proper medical attention to heal correctly.

Symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Pain with or after normal activity
  • Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity
  • Pinpoint pain (pain at the site of the fracture) when touched
  • Swelling but no bruising


Consequences of Improper Treatment

Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This is usually not true. In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop. For example:

  • A deformity in the bony architecture, which may limit the ability to move the foot or cause difficulty in fitting shoes.
  • Arthritis, which may be caused by a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), or may be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or has not been properly corrected.
  • Chronic pain and deformity.
  • Nonunion, or failure to heal, can lead to subsequent surgery or chronic pain.


Treatment of Toe Fractures

Fractures of the toe bones are almost always traumatic fractures. Treatment for traumatic fractures depends on the break itself and may include these options:

  • Rest. Sometimes rest is all that is needed to treat a traumatic fracture of the toe.
  • Splinting. The toe may be fitted with a splint to keep it in a fixed position.
  • Rigid or stiff-soled shoe. Wearing a stiff-soled shoe protects the toe and helps keep it properly positioned. Use of a postoperative shoe or bootwalker is also helpful.
  • Buddy taping the fractured toe to another toe is sometimes appropriate, but in other cases, it may be harmful.
  • Surgery. If the break is badly displaced or if the joint is affected, surgery may be necessary. Surgery often involves the use of fixation devices, such as pins.


Treatment of Metatarsal Fractures

Breaks in the metatarsal bones may be either stress or traumatic fractures. Certain kinds of fractures of the metatarsal bones present unique challenges.

For example, sometimes a fracture of the first metatarsal bone (behind the big toe) can lead to arthritis. Since the big toe is used so frequently and bears more weight than other toes, arthritis in that area can make it painful to walk, bend or even stand.

Another type of break, called a Jones fracture, occurs at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone (behind the little toe). It is often misdiagnosed as an ankle sprain, and misdiagnosis can have serious consequences since sprains and fractures require different treatments. Your foot and ankle surgeon is an expert in correctly identifying these conditions as well as other problems of the foot.

Treatment of metatarsal fractures depends on the type and extent of the fracture and may include:

  • Rest. Sometimes rest is the only treatment needed to promote healing of a stress or traumatic fracture of a metatarsal bone.
  • Avoid the offending activity. Because stress fractures result from repetitive stress, it is important to avoid the activity that led to the fracture. Crutches or a wheelchair are sometimes required to offload weight from the foot to give it time to heal.
  • Immobilization, casting or rigid shoe. A stiff-soled shoe or other form of immobilization may be used to protect the fractured bone while it is healing. Use of a postoperative shoe or bootwalker is also helpful.
  • Surgery. Some traumatic fractures of the metatarsal bones require surgery, especially if the break is badly displaced.
  • Follow-up care. Your foot and ankle surgeon will provide instructions for care following surgical or nonsurgical treatment. Physical therapy, exercises and rehabilitation may be included in a schedule for return to normal activities.

90,000 Five Myths About Fractures: What Really To Fear

  • Claudia Hammond
  • BBC Future

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Terrible, piercing pain? Not always. Since you can move a limb, then there is no fracture? It happens so, but it also happens in another way. Columnist BBC Future breaks down what is true and what is not in the most common views on fractures.

Myth 1. If you can move the affected limb, then there is no fracture

Usually, this is the first thing you hear when you writhe in pain, hitting something with your toe: “Can you move it? Well, then this not a fracture. ”

In fact, you can move your broken limb or toe at times, so this should not be considered a fracture check.

The three main symptoms of a broken bone are pain, swelling and deformity.

If the bone is rotated 90 degrees from its normal position, or even sticks out through the skin, of course, this is a bad sign.

Another indication of a fracture is if you heard a click when it happened to you.

Myth 2. If it’s a fracture, it hurts terribly

Not at all necessary. Many talk about how they fell on the ski slope, and after that they still skated for the rest of the day, walked and even danced, not suspecting that they had broken their leg.

Of course, broken bones hurt much more often, but if the fracture is minor, you may not even notice it.

When you find that you have a fracture, you should immediately see a doctor who will position and fix your bones so that they heal correctly, without deformation, without the risk of infection.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

As soon as you realize that you have broken your arm, see a doctor immediately

Fractures have one peculiarity.A broken limb may not hurt all the time. But here’s what researchers at the University of Southampton, who studied data from half a million British adults, found out in 2015: those who have ever broken an arm, leg, hip or spine, decades later, often suffered from pain throughout the body – much more often than those who never broke anything for myself. Fortunately, this does not happen to everyone.

Myth 3. Older white women should be wary of osteoporotic fractures

Let’s start with age.It’s true that older women break bones more often than younger women. The hormonal changes in the body that occur during menopause can lead to rapid bone loss and frequent fractures in osteoporosis.

In terms of race, for example, in the United States, a hip fracture occurs more than twice as often in white women than in black women.

It has been suggested that there are a number of factors that make black women stronger bones, such as the higher bone mass gained in childhood and the slower process of bone turnover, which leads to a slower release of minerals from it in old age …

All this is true, but black women also suffer from osteoporosis, it is just that there are fewer of them among them than among whites. Why?

It was believed that only 5% of black women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, but there have already been calls for more serious health scrutiny.

In the United States, for example, African American women are less likely than whites to be sent for screening to detect osteoporosis. And if they are still diagnosed with this, they are less likely to be prescribed the necessary medicine.

Myth 4. There is no point in going to a doctor with a broken toe, because nothing will help you anyway.

Indeed, in this case, a plaster cast is unlikely to be applied to you, but a broken toe still needs to be examined. Doctors will determine the type of fracture, help in the future to avoid pain and deformities (which will make it uncomfortable to wear shoes or lead to arthritis in old age if the bone is not healed correctly).

If the finger is fractured at a strange angle, then more complex treatment will be required, perhaps even an operation.

Most toes can be simply locked with adjacent toes. You will also be given special shoes. These fractures heal within 4-6 weeks.

Big toe fractures are more serious, and some even have a plaster cast up to calf level for two to three weeks and then bandage the broken toe to the adjacent toe.

Fortunately, big toe fractures are twice as common as other toes.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Doctors will be able to ease your suffering and make your injured leg as safe as possible

If the metatarsal bone (next to the toe bone) is broken, the fracture can heal without any plaster cast – provided that the leg is at rest.

The fact is that the bones on either side of the victim support each other naturally, acting like a natural splint, and in 80% of cases the bones remain in the correct position even when they are broken.

Of course, if there are wounds that indicate an open fracture, or the bone is clearly in the wrong position, special treatment is needed. This happens most often with broken bones of the big toe, because it is on the edge of the foot and does not have the necessary support of other bones.

The same goes for broken pinky fingers. In such cases, surgery is sometimes necessary, or the foot is placed in a cast.

But even if you don’t need a cast, a toe fracture must be treated. After the doctor has ruled out more serious fracture options, a splint and soft protective dressing will be applied.

You will be told if you need to use crutches for one or two weeks until you can more or less calmly step on the injured leg.

Myth 5. Once a broken bone is healed, it is stronger than it was before the fracture

Sounds too good to be true, and in the long run it is not. However, there is something in this statement, if we talk about the short term.

As the healing and healing process takes place, a kind of protective cuff of new bone forms around the fracture site.

So in the first weeks of healing, the bone at the fracture site really becomes stronger than normal for a while.

But gradually the “cuff” disappears, and after a few years you have a bone that is, perhaps, no worse than the other unbroken ones, but also not stronger than them.

Legal information. This article is for general information only and should not be construed as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professional. The BBC is not responsible for any diagnosis made by the reader based on the materials of the site. The BBC is not responsible for the content of other sites linked to on this page, nor does it recommend commercial products or services mentioned on these sites.If you are concerned about your health condition, see your doctor.

To read the original of this article in English, visit BBC Future.

What if I broke my toe?

A broken toe requires immediate medical attention. Its treatment is long and complex. If you want to avoid a number of inconveniences (for example, difficulty in movement due to an improperly fused bone), you need to learn how to determine the presence of a fracture in a timely manner.Improper treatment can cause the limb to lose its former shape and flexibility. Therefore, at the first suspicion of a fracture, it makes sense to consult a doctor.

Fractured toe: causes and symptoms

Most often, the phalanges of the fingers are injured when a too heavy object falls, due to a strong blow or accidental twisting of the leg. In some cases, fractures are caused by diseases such as osteomyelitis (bone infection), diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis.

Most fractures are stressful: a microcrack occurs that does not rupture the skin or displace the bones. Fragment fractures are less common: the bone breaks in several places. Diagnosing an open fracture is easy: you’ll see bones sticking out. A correct assessment of the severity of the injury will help determine the appropriate treatment.

Among the main symptoms of a broken toe are:

  • visible swelling;
  • unbearable pain;
  • deformation of the phalanx;
  • 90 130 bruising, bruising;

  • Crunching sound when trying to move a leg;
  • 90 130 tingling, cooling, numbness;

  • open wound with bleeding.

Having broken the thumb, a person cannot walk fully, because it is this finger that accounts for most of the body’s weight. A broken little finger does not prevent a person from walking. But in either case, the pain will be palpable.

What complications are possible after a toe fracture?

Do not think that a finger injury is a trifle. A number of problems arise after an injury. If there is a hematoma, it is possible to remove the nail.In case of improper tissue fusion, surgical intervention is required: an osteotomy is performed – elimination of deformation of the joints and bones.

In addition, there is a risk of infection if there is inflamed skin next to a broken finger. The presence of redness, swelling, pus, as well as tissue softness and fever are evidence of infection. In this case, you cannot do without antibiotics.

In order to avoid the consequences of a fracture, you need to seek medical help from qualified specialists.Not only chiropractors and orthopedists, but also osteopaths and physiotherapists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of injured limbs. Specialists make diagnoses after examining and examining X-rays. In some cases, computed tomography, MRI, ultrasound, and bone scanning are required.

Features of treatment for broken toes

If we are talking about a stress fracture, then the first thing you will need to stop any activity is to apply an ice compress to the damaged area (it will reduce inflammation and stop internal bleeding).Ice should be applied for 10-12 minutes every hour. Experts recommend keeping the injured limb raised, it can be placed on a blanket roll or pillow. It will be necessary to bandage the broken finger by connecting it to the adjacent one. A regular medical waterproof bandage is suitable for this. The family doctor will advise on anti-inflammatory drugs. For the next 5-6 days, you will have to wear loose-toed shoes.

An open fracture requires the assistance of an orthopedic surgeon.He will reduce the broken toe and apply a splint. You will need to use crutches for about 2 weeks. For walks, you will need to purchase special orthopedic shoes. Anyone who wants to quickly recover from a fracture should eat foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, magnesium, calcium, and boron.

An important point! Doctors almost always recommend a tetanus shot if there is an open wound.

Practice shows that broken fingers take about 1.5 months to heal.If the problem is not resolved within this period, the doctor will take new X-rays and adjust the treatment. Only an expert can qualitatively assess the degree of bone healing.

Despite the fact that the fractures in question heal easily, the consequences should not be forgotten. You don’t want to get arthritis, do you? Don’t want to get a disability? For the slightest injury, see a doctor immediately.

Risk factors, clinical presentation, principles of treatment and possible complications

In this article, we will introduce you to the types, manifestations, methods of first aid, diagnosis and treatment of fractures of the toes. This information will be useful for you, and you will be able to suspect the presence of such an injury in time, correctly provide first aid to the victim and make an adequate decision on the need for treatment by a specialist.

Classification of fractures of the toe

Closed fractures are the most common. In this case, the integrity of the skin is preserved. Compression injury is often accompanied by displacement. An open comminuted fracture is difficult to repair.But much is determined by the location of the damage. In this regard, allocate:

  • big toe fracture – often accompanied by a fracture of the sesamoid bone. The most difficult to treat intra-articular lesions,
  • fracture of the index finger – involves damage to one or more phalanges of the fingers,
  • fracture of the middle finger – the nail phalanx suffers more often, and along the fracture line the fracture can be oblique, longitudinal or transverse,
  • fracture of the ring finger – a single injury is rare, very often the damage also affects the little finger.There are also simultaneous injuries to the 1,2 and 4,5 fingers,
  • fracture of the little toe – One of the most common injuries is a fracture of the proximal phalanx.

Damage without displacement heals faster, and medical reduction is not required. It is much harder in case of significant deformations. At the same time, there are several types of displacements:

  • with divergence and insertion,
  • lateral and angular offset,
  • with wedging of fragments.

In case of damage to the middle and distal phalanx, the treatment tactics will be the same, although the damage itself occurs in different ways. Only a punctured fracture of the toes can cause a fracture of the middle phalanx. It is quite difficult to damage it if dropped or hit.

Fractures of the phalanges

Swelling occurs at the site of injury. A blow to the big toe causes similar disturbances as with a thumb injury, due to the presence of only two phalanges.Phalangeal fractures are divided into T-shaped, oblique and transverse. A direct impact on the fifth toe causes multiple injuries due to the small size of the phalanges. The affected little finger instantly swells and becomes cyanotic.

ICD trauma code 10

Code S92 covers all foot fractures. With an injury such as a broken little finger, a separate code is not assigned, but with a thumb injury, the code S92 is prescribed in the card. 4. In case of a complex fracture with multiple injuries of the foot, the disease is designated by the code S92.7. All fractures of any toe other than the thumb are covered by code S92.5.


Injuries caused by bone pathologies occur only in 5% of cases from general fractures. As a result of this injury, the integrity of the group of bones is disrupted, and recovery is extremely difficult. So, if the phalanx of the little finger is damaged, cracks in the metatarsus are often observed. A minor blow to another object can cause such pathologies. It is enough to step on a person’s foot to provoke injury.


What are the first signs of a toe fracture? First of all, it is intense pain. It increases with tapping or palpation. Pain shock does not occur. Even in the event of a serious injury, the pain can be tolerated.

A hematoma in the area of ​​the fracture indicates a rupture of blood vessels. In some cases, the leg becomes literally purple. Puffiness after a fracture often occurs with severe bruising and damage to soft tissues.

If there are wounds, then we are talking about an open injury.Skin lesions often accompany symptoms of a fractured or cracked big toe. Other signs of a toe fracture are:

  • redness and local hyperthermia,
  • enlargement of the damaged finger in size,
  • limitation of mobility or complete immobilization.

Symptoms of a toe fracture may include shortening of the injured toe and its abnormal mobility. In case of bone crushing, the fragments can be seen with the naked eye.Signs of a fractured little toe include a deformity of the foot and a possible deeper shift of the fifth toe. The characteristic symptoms of a fracture of the little toe include crepitus of bones or bone fragments.

First aid

In this case, the procedure will be as follows:

  • Give the patient an anesthetic,
  • clean the wound, if any,
  • fix the damaged pin.

If the pain syndrome does not decrease, then non-narcotic analgesics are offered.Immobilization should be done if displacement is suspected. You can fix your toe with a bandage and splint.

Usually the thumb is immobilized. It is wrapped with a pencil or other solid and suitable object. Fixation is not always justified.

More often than not, the patient is simply laid or seated, and the leg is placed on a dais.

If the main phalanx of 4 fingers is damaged, then you can fix the finger with the adjacent one. It is impossible to tie the phalanges tightly; a cotton pad is placed between them.

Cold will help relieve pain and swelling. A bag of crushed ice is applied for 5-10 minutes, and then a break is taken to avoid frostbite.

Cooling will help if there is a fracture of the little toe, but first aid will be slightly different for this injury.

What to do if the little toe is broken

In case of injury to the little toe, the leg must be lifted up and placed on a pillow in a relaxed position. This will prevent swelling and swelling of the soft tissues.Little finger immobilization is not required, but the foot must be secured to bring the victim to the hospital. Shoes are not worn, otherwise the chipped bones may be displaced.

What else to do in case of a broken toe at home? After carrying out anesthetic and anti-inflammatory therapy, it remains only to call an ambulance. Without an accurate diagnosis, it is difficult to take further action. It is forbidden to adjust your finger yourself.


If the second and further fingers are damaged, the patient may not be aware of the fracture.Often the symptoms are similar to a common bruise. How to identify a fractured toe without X-ray?

An experienced physician will be able to understand the nature of damage during palpation and tapping. However, it is not always possible to recognize complex wounds visually. You can find out the crack using CT. But this method looks redundant and unjustified in the case when the damage is obvious.


If the broken little fingers on the leg are displaced, then they are set. How to treat a fracture in the event of a closed injury? The method of one-step reduction is usually used.

Treatment of a toe fracture begins with anesthesia, after which the finger is smoothly extended, returning it to its physiological position. After the adjustment, the functionality of all fingers is checked. If the swelling goes away and the fingers are functioning properly, install the retainer. This is usually a cast, but there may be a bandage.

The timing of immobilization of the phalanges of the toes is determined by the severity of the injury. For minor injuries, a thumb brace can reduce stress and protect the foot from external influences.

If the fracture cannot be cured with a one-stage closed reduction, skeletal traction is used. It is an invasive repair method that keeps the bone fragments in the correct position.

The damaged little finger (or other finger) is pierced and a nylon thread is inserted. If the little toe is broken, you can fix it with special pins. In adults, fusion takes several weeks, in children – less.

The puncture site is treated with antiseptics, and after removing the retainer, orthosis is installed on the finger.

It makes no sense to use folk remedies for fracture. The exception is phytopreparations with decongestant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. But they are used for short-term treatment. Products with gelatin content – jelly and jellied meat allow to speed up the process of accretion.

Surgical treatment

Despite the surgical precision in open surgery, there are many difficulties that arise from the specifics of the therapy.The risk of infection and suppuration remains high, and it may be difficult to administer anesthesia.

How much to treat and wear plaster

How to quickly heal a damaged foot and shorten the duration of fracture treatment? Much is determined by the individual characteristics of the patient’s body and the specifics of the injuries themselves. After open reduction, the bones grow together for a long time. Whether a plaster cast is needed after the main treatment is determined by the traumatologist. But no reduction is complete without additional commit.

You will have to wear a cast as long as a finger fracture heals. With cracks and minor fractures of the toes, immobilization lasts up to 3 weeks.

In case of displacement, you can walk no earlier than after 4 weeks, and sometimes after 6 weeks. How much a finger fracture heals in the case of an open wound depends on the complexity of the operation. Plaster is usually prescribed for a period of 5-6 weeks.

Disability recovery takes up to 2 months if complications have occurred.

In case of incorrect splice, reoperation will be required. It’s hard to say how long the recovery will take. Usually the period of incapacity for work is doubled.


The patient is recommended to start exercise therapy immediately after removing the cast. One effective exercise is fingering small objects with your toes. Such gymnastics will be especially useful if nerves have been damaged due to injury. Overvoltage during training should not be.First, they train for 15-20 minutes, over time, the duration of the classes is increased to 40-60 minutes.


Exercises after a toe fracture involve squeezing and straightening all toes. The injured finger is not used for some time, but then it is also connected to gymnastics.

At the first stage, it is better to replace the exercises with self-massage. Light stroking and squeezing will improve blood flow and prevent atrophy. There should be no unpleasant sensations during gymnastics.

Duration of therapy – no more than 10 minutes, course duration – 10-15 procedures.

You can develop a foot on your own, but before doing massage and gymnastics, you should consult a doctor. If the fracture of the toe heals slowly, then hardware physiotherapy is prescribed. The following treatments have proven effective:

  • UHF-therapy – reduces pain syndrome, improves tissue trophism, stimulates metabolism and capillary blood circulation.One of the most reliable methods of recovery after fractures,
  • magnetotherapy – accelerates regeneration, prevents the development of diseases of the skeletal system, reduces edema,
  • interference currents – activate trophic processes, relieve hematomas, normalize blood circulation.

Ozokerite applications have useful properties. They dilate blood vessels and eliminate pain after a long stay in one position. Salt baths have a similar effect.Baking soda baths will prevent complications and the development of callus. They eliminate local inflammatory reactions and reduce post-traumatic edema.

Complications and consequences

Negative consequences arise from the lack of treatment. Many patients simply do not go to the doctor, because the injury does not bother them much. But this is at first. Over time, the deformities become irreversible, and the foot does not function properly.

Complications can arise from errors in therapy. Callus may form if a phalanx fracture in one of the toes does not heal properly. This is an abnormal tissue at the fusion site. Its dimensions sometimes exceed the size of the phalanx.

The growth of replacement tissue is due to the weakness of the bone structure. Callus compensates for the lack of strength, but it causes great inconvenience to the patient. It causes pain, interferes with walking, complicates the selection of shoes.

In addition, it is always an additional source of inflammation and a vulnerable spot in the event of injury.

If the callus is formed due to improper reduction, then a second operation is required. In this case, healing will take longer than usual. In the presence of a bone defect, repeated surgery is associated with the risk of tissue inflammation.

Other complications of toe fractures are also distinguished:

  • False joint – occurs due to shrapnel injuries. The scattered fragments are erased and become separate elements of the bone. They are not connected to each other, and the space between them is the same false joint.Due to the absence of cartilage tissue, an inflammatory process occurs between the fragments. The functionality of the toe and foot is generally reduced. If the upper phalanx is damaged, then nail ingrowth is possible,
  • ankylosis – occurs due to inflammation in damaged tissues. Over time, the joints become ossified and lose their mobility. This is one of the reasons why toes go numb. Sometimes they are completely immobilized, which leads to tissue death. Prosthetics are used to get rid of this defect,
  • Osteomyelitis is one of the most dangerous complications.It occurs as a result of improper treatment of an open fracture. Pathogenic microorganisms enter the bone and cause inflammation. The infection enters the body through an open wound. Less commonly – by hematogenous route. Correct initial treatment of damage will prevent the development of osteomyelitis. If it is not possible to avoid infection, powerful antibiotic therapy is used. In advanced cases – depressurization of the bone,
  • shortening of the bone – is the result of improper fusion. Incorrect reduction followed by immobilization firmly fix the fragments in the wrong position.The support function of the bone decreases, and pain occurs during movement. The risk of re-fracture increases dramatically. The next reduction will help to correct the situation, but the fragility of the damaged bone is still preserved.


In case of weakening of the skeletal system, calcium supplements are prescribed. They are recommended for prophylaxis for all elderly people, women during and after menopause, as well as pregnant and lactating women.

From a medical point of view, the best prevention is increased caution on the street and at home.Avoiding a fracture of the main phalanx is easy if you look under your feet and prevent injury.

Products enriched with calcium, magnesium, vitamin D will help to strengthen bones. This group includes fermented milk products, egg yolks, nuts, chicken liver, seafood, olive oil. They also prevent diseases such as arthritis and arthrosis. At the same time, you should limit the intake of oxalic and uric acids.

Source: https: //xn--h2aeegmc7b.xn--p1ai/pervaya-pomoshh/perelomyi/perelom-paltsa-na-noge

3 symptoms (signs) of a broken toe – how to understand that it is broken

Fracture of a toe is one of the many and especially common types of injuries sustained by a person in everyday life.

To obtain such a serious mechanical damage to the bone tissue, it is enough to apply insignificant efforts. A bruise, an unsuccessful jump, a fall on the leg of even a small object, as well as many other reasons can lead to a fracture.

It should be emphasized that for persons suffering from various forms of diseases leading to pathological fragility of bones, it is rather unfortunate enough to distribute the weight of their own body on the toes.

An important point is the provision of timely assistance to the victim.

Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences, including loss of flexibility and mobility of the fingers, constant pain, and in severe cases, tissue necrosis.


The term “fracture” refers to the violation of the integrity of the bone tissue, namely the phalanges of the toes, due to the application of an action, the force of which is many times greater than the resistance of the damaged segment. In direct proportion to the nature and type of the injury received, there are several options for classifying fractures of the toes.

Mainly, injuries to the toes are divided into closed and open. In the latter case, a kind of application to the resulting injury is a violation of the integrity of the skin, which arose as a result of the displacement of bone fragments.

In case of fractures with displacement of individual fragments of bone fragments, this type of injury is subdivided into splinter-free, one or two-splinter, and also multi-splinter. As the name suggests, the determining factor is the presence and total number of chipped segments of the damaged phalanx of the toes.

In addition, bone fractures are classified accordingly with an injured phalanx. In this case, damage to the big toe is isolated as a separate subspecies, which is due to some difference in its anatomical structure, which consists in the presence of only two phalanges.


As mentioned above, numerous factors can cause a leg fracture, including unsuccessful falls, bruises, improper distribution of the load on the toes, as well as other factors of a similar nature.However, regardless of the reason that provoked the injury, it is recommended that everyone know what to do with a broken toe and how to provide first aid to the victim.


Symptoms and signs of a toe fracture may vary somewhat in direct proportion to the nature of the injury. In this case, the first manifestations of the fracture are especially acute, some time after receiving mechanical damage, the clinical picture becomes somewhat blurred. The general symptomatology is as follows:

  • The predominant signs of a violation of the integrity of the bone tissues of the toes are pain and sensations of pulsation in the area of ​​the injured area. At the same time, depending on the nature of the injury, painful sensations can spread to the entire leg or be localized in the immediate vicinity of the damaged phalanx.
  • The appearance of tissue edema or bruising, which is the result of damage not only to bone segments, but also to the skin or blood vessels.
  • In displaced fractures, the deformity of the injured toe can also be seen with the naked eye. In this case, with open forms of mechanical damage, the appearance of open wound surfaces is possible.

Unlike other types of injuries, such as bruises, symptoms of a broken toe do not fade even after several hours. Moreover, painful sensations can persist for a long period of time, even if the patient is provided with medical assistance.

First aid

In order to provide first aid to the victim, you need to know how to determine if a toe is broken. First of all, long-term pain that does not go away speaks of receiving this injury. In addition, the spread of pain to the entire foot may indicate a fracture. If there is a suspicion of a fracture, you must:

  • First aid for a fractured toe is to numb the affected area.This can be done with drugs for local or internal use.
  • Next, you should immobilize or, simply put, fix the damaged segment using any homemade splint and sterile bandage. In the presence of open wound surfaces, the wound should be disinfected.

And, of course, an urgent measure of help is contacting a medical institution.


When an injury is received, the question of how to determine a fracture of a toe becomes relevant.The determining factor in this case is long-term pain syndrome. However, it is still not worth trying to diagnose at home. To determine a fracture, you should definitely see a doctor.

Among the many diagnostic methods, X-ray is especially often used to detect the presence of damage. In severe cases, for example, against the background of numerous fragments, it is possible to use computed tomography. This examination provides more detailed images of the injured toe.


The process of treating broken toes is similar to that used for injuries to the arms, legs or any other elements of the bone skeleton. To determine the most suitable option for conservative therapy, it is required to carry out diagnostic procedures, the main purpose of which is to determine the type, severity of the injury received.

Emergency care

If your little finger or any other finger is broken, you should not ask yourself questions about what to do, it is important to seek help from a medical facility as soon as possible. Before the arrival of an ambulance, you can give the patient any pain medication.

Emergency medical care primarily consists in the use of anesthetic drugs that will help relieve intense pain. Further, after carrying out diagnostic measures, it is necessary to immobilize the injured finger, the essence of which is to apply a plaster cast, fixing the broken finger in the anatomically correct position.

A few days after the application of the splint, the patient needs to visit the specialist again for a second study, which will reveal the dynamics of bone tissue healing, the presence or absence of complications, and assess the process of bone fusion as a whole.If the bone is properly healed, the immobilizing dressings are removed four to eight weeks after injury.

Fracture of thumb and middle finger

Fractures of the big or middle toe occupy a separate place in the general list of injuries. This is due to intense painful sensations, the appearance of which is characterized by such damage.

The treatment tactics used in this case does not differ significantly from the methods used for other types of fractures. The only thing that should be paid attention to is the timely provision of assistance to the patient, which consists in the introduction of anesthetic drugs.

The absence of such against the background of a low pain threshold can lead to the development of a shock state in the patient.

Multiple fracture

On the background of multiple fractures of the toes, it is possible to apply a general fixation bandage on the entire surface of the injured leg. This measure allows you to exclude possible displacement of bone fragments and prevent possible complications. This is the most common approach for fractures of the little finger and ring fingers.

A separate point is in this case the nature of the injuries. In the event that the extreme phalanges of the toes were subject to damage, the application of an elastic patch is sufficient to fix them, which reliably holds the fingers in the anatomically correct position even when the thumb moves.

Compound fracture with displacement

For complex fractures associated with displacement of bone segments or the formation of several fragments, an invasive method of treatment is used. There are two options for surgical intervention, each of which is used only according to the doctor’s prescription:

  • Metal plate. The essence of this procedure is as follows: during surgical manipulations, individual bone segments of the injured toe are tightly attached to a thin metal plate, which is a kind of frame. The foreign object is removed only after complete healing of the bone tissue and the formation of calluses.
  • Metal spoke. This method is classified as sparing, since the removal of the wire is not painful and does not require the use of general anesthesia. This procedure involves drilling individual fragments of the damaged leg bone, followed by stringing them onto a thin metal knitting needle. After the damaged tissue is restored, the fixing object is simply pulled out and removed.

Open fracture

Due to the absence of large blood vessels, even open forms of finger fractures are not potentially hazardous to the health and life of the victim. However, due to the formation of an open wound surface, treatment is still required.

Initially, the wound is treated with a disinfectant antibacterial preparation. Further, bone fragments of the damaged phalanx of the finger are fixed in the anatomically correct position. Metal needles or plates may be used for this procedure.

After this procedure, sutures or a sterile bandage are applied to fix the damaged skin.The length of the recovery period can vary significantly depending on the severity of the injury.

Recovery period

After removing any fixing bandage, including plaster, the patient needs a certain time to restore the functional features of the injured leg.

The need for rehabilitation is due to the fact that when the injured limb is in the immobilizing bandage, the muscle tissue loses its elasticity and becomes less mobile.

For the development of muscles and strengthening of bone tissues, patients are recommended such methods of treatment as physiotherapy exercises, massage, physiotherapy methods, adherence to a diet with a high content of vitamins, microelements, moderate physical activity.

The use of these techniques on a regular basis will allow you to normalize, stabilize the condition of the affected finger and limb, prevent possible complications, and quickly return to the previous full life.

Source: https://SkeletOpora.ru/travmy-kolenej/perelom-paltsa-na-noge

Signs of toe fracture, treatment

Fractures of toes are common in the practice of traumatologists and no one is immune from their occurrence. You can get such an injury even when your leg hits a corner, furniture, or when you twist your leg.

In 95% of cases, toes break due to traumatic causes – impact or compression.However, sometimes such injuries occur due to pathological factors – osteoporosis, osteomyelitis, neoplasms or bone tuberculosis. These diseases cause destruction of the bone, and even a minimal mechanical effect on it can cause its fracture.

According to statistics, fractures of the toes account for 5% of all fractures, and in case of leg injuries, every third patient of a traumatologist is diagnosed.

As a rule, they respond well to treatment and there is a misconception among the population that such fractures are simple and can heal on their own without the participation of a specialist.

However, the lack of qualified and timely treatment can lead to the development of many complications, which will subsequently cause more inconvenience than the injury itself.


Fractures of the toes can be open or closed. Most often, such injuries are not accompanied by damage to the skin.

In most cases, toe fractures are not accompanied by damage to the skin, that is, they are closed.

By the presence of displacement, closed and open fractures of the toes can be:

  • offset;
  • no offset.

Fractures of the toes with displacement can be:

  • angular offset;
  • with wedge;
  • side shift;
  • with longitudinal divergence;
  • with longitudinal engagement.

Angular displacement of fragments of the phalanges often occurs in children and is rare.This fact is explained by the fact that at this age the periosteum remains elastic and may not be damaged by mechanical stress. In such cases, the broken bone is not completely held on it, and the fragment is displaced in the direction opposite to the fracture line.

The wedging of fragments in fractures of the toes is detected in 1 / 4-1 / 3 cases, since during the injury the direction of the impact often coincides with the longitudinal axis of the toe. However, wedging of one fragment into another is rare. As a rule, there is a strong deformation of the cartilaginous tissue, accompanied by the appearance of several sub-articular cracks.

Lateral displacement of fragments with such fractures is extremely rare.

Fractures with longitudinal overlapping of fragments for each other are observed more often than injuries with a discrepancy, because in such cases, muscle contraction occurs and the surrounding tissues are pulled together, shifting the fragments. Longitudinal divergence in such injuries occurs with significant damage to the ligaments and muscles in the fracture area.

By the number of fragments, fractures of the toes are divided into:

  • slip-free;
  • one- or two-splinted;
  • multi-chipped.

Splinter-free fractures usually occur during falls. One- and two-splintered – when struck with a blunt object, and multi-splintered – when hit by an object with an uneven surface (for example, a stone).

Depending on the fault line, the fracture may be:

  • transverse;
  • longitudinal;
  • 90 130 oblique;

  • helical;
  • T-shaped;
  • S-shaped, etc.

Depending on the location of the fracture line, injuries can occur in the following areas of the toe:

  • main phalanx;
  • nail phalanx;
  • middle phalanx.

Sometimes two or more phalanges are damaged at the same time. A fracture of the big toe is isolated separately, since it consists not of three, but of two phalanges. Symptoms when it is damaged are more pronounced, since it carries the maximum load when walking.


Signs of toe fractures are divided into probable and reliable.

Possible symptoms of a broken toe include the following:

  • Pain in the injured finger;
  • redness and swelling of tissues in the area of ​​the fracture;
  • increase in tissue temperature in the area of ​​injury;
  • limitation or complete absence of movement of the injured finger;
  • increased pain when tapping on the end of the finger;
  • forced position of the injured finger.

Pain in such fractures can be different in intensity, but they are always tolerable and do not lead to loss of consciousness, as is the case with injuries of larger bones.

Particularly acute and strongly painful sensations are expressed precisely at the moment of bone fracture, since the periosteum is highly innervated. After a short time, the pain becomes dull and is caused by the development of bleeding, the appearance of edema and an inflammatory reaction.

In case of injury, substances such as serotonin, histamine and bradykinin are released into the bloodstream, which provoke the development of an inflammatory process in the area of ​​damage.As a result, swelling and redness appear in this place, and the temperature of the inflamed tissues rises. To reduce pain, the victim tries to find a position for the finger in which it will manifest itself to a lesser extent.

Sign of increased pain when tapping on the top of the injured finger is a kind of test to determine the bruise or fracture of the finger.

In case of violation of the integrity of one of the phalanges, pain appears at the site of its fracture, and with bruises of the finger, such sensations do not arise.It should be noted that such actions cannot be performed if there is a suspicion of displacement of fragments. In such cases, performing the test can provoke further misalignment and exacerbate the injury.

Significant symptoms of a toe fracture include the following:

  • detection of a bone defect of the phalanx during palpation;
  • 90 130 pathological mobility of the phalanx in an unusual place;

  • crepitus of fragments during palpation;
  • the injured toe becomes shorter than the same healthy toe on the other leg;
  • a broken toe deformity appears.

Such reliable signs of a fracture in almost 100% of cases indicate the presence of a fracture, but manipulations associated with palpation are always accompanied by severe pain and should be performed only by a specialist and as carefully as possible. Usually they are not performed, and the diagnosis is confirmed by X-ray.

First aid

An open wound should be treated with an antiseptic solution and applied with a sterile bandage.

As with other injuries accompanied by a violation of the integrity of the bone, first-aid care for fractures of the toes is aimed at eliminating pain, disinfecting wounds (if any), reducing hemorrhages and immobilizing the injured limb.It consists in carrying out the following activities:

  1. Eliminate the traumatic factor and seat the patient in a comfortable position, giving the leg an elevated position.
  2. Give an analgesic drug to take: Analgin, Nimesil, Ibufen, Ketanol, etc. Or, if possible, perform an intramuscular injection of an analgesic.
  3. In the presence of open wounds, treat them with an antiseptic solution and apply a bandage from a sterile bandage.
  4. Immobilization should be performed only if fragments are suspected to be displaced. In other cases, it is enough to give the leg an elevated position. If you need to immobilize your thumb, handy tools such as two pencils or plates covered with two layers of cloth can be used. They are held to the right and left of the toe and are bandaged to the shin. When immobilizing other toes of the foot, there is no need to use a splint – the injured toe is bandaged to one or two healthy toes.
  5. Apply cold to the area of ​​injury to reduce pain and bleeding.Every 10 minutes the ice pack should be removed for 2-3 minutes to prevent frostbite.
  6. To transport a patient to a hospital, it is better to call an ambulance or carry out this event on your own, but as sparingly as possible for the injured leg.


Radiography is the gold standard for diagnosing fractures of the toes. The images are taken in one or two projections and allow you to create an accurate picture of the injury: displacement, fracture location, etc.p.


The tactics of treating a fracture of a toe is determined by the clinical picture of the injury. For bone healing, the following methods can be used:

  • closed one-stage reduction;
  • skeletal traction;
  • open reduction.

In case of open fractures, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent purulent complications and, if necessary, tetanus vaccination is performed.

Closed one-step reduction

This method of treatment is used to repair closed displaced fractures.

The area of ​​injury is anesthetized by injecting a local anesthetic into the surrounding soft tissue (after a preliminary test for an allergic reaction). As a rule, lidocaine or procaine is used for these purposes.

After the onset of the drug action, the injured finger is smoothly extended. In parallel with this, the doctor performs the return of the fragments to the physiological position.

After matching the fragments, the mobility of all joints (metatarsophalangeal and interphalangeal) is checked.If not all joints remain mobile, then a second reduction is performed. If the movements in all joints persist, then immobilization is carried out using a plaster cast or other devices.

Skeletal traction

This method of treating fractures of the toes is indicated when closed reduction is impossible. For this, manipulations are performed to provide retraction and support of the distal fragment. They make it possible to prevent the divergence of fragments.

Skeletal traction is performed after local anesthesia. A special pin or nylon thread is drawn through the skin or nail phalanx, the ends of which are tied to give it the appearance of a ring. Subsequently, a wire hook is fixed to the gypsum, which will hold the ring in the position necessary for skeletal traction.

After performing these manipulations, the patient should wear a plaster cast for at least 2-3 weeks. At the same time, finger punctures are treated daily with antiseptic solutions (Cutasept, Betadine, alcoholic solution of iodine or brilliant green).After 2-3 weeks, the thread or pin is removed, and the finger is immobilized again for the same period for complete bone healing.

Open reduction

Indications for performing a surgical operation – intraosseous osteosynthesis – may be the following cases:

  • open fracture;
  • multi-splinter fracture;
  • complications arising from other methods of treatment.

Such interventions allow restoring the integrity of the bone with visual control and provide high reliability of fixation of fragments using metal devices.

For intraosseous fixation, pins, screws, plates and wires are used. The selection of this or that device is determined by the clinical picture of the fracture. After the completion of the operation, immobilization is performed using a splint or plaster cast for 4-8 weeks.

In more rare cases, osteosynthesis is performed using a system of metal rods fixed with circles or half-arcs – the Ilizarov apparatus. This is due to the cumbersomeness of such structures or the lack of apparatus of the required dimensions.

Possible complications

In the absence of treatment, non-compliance with the doctor’s recommendations or inadequate choice of the method of treatment, the following complications may develop:

  • false joint;
  • giant callus;
  • incorrect fusion of fragments;
  • 90 130 ankylosis;

  • osteomyelitis;
  • gangrene.

Is plaster always applied

For immobilization in case of fractures of the toes, a plaster cast or other polymeric materials can be used that can provide reliable immobilization.For the patient, the most comfortable dressings are made of polymers, since

they are lighter and are not exposed to water (when wearing them there are no restrictions on hygiene measures). In addition, polymeric materials, unlike gypsum, always remain warm and do not “cool” the leg. Such hypothermia when wearing a plaster cast can lead to a violation of the strength of the callus.

The only drawback of polymers used for immobilization is their high cost.

An immobilizing bandage for fractures of toes is applied not only to the injured toe, but also covers the entire foot and the lower third of the lower leg. Only with this method of applying a “boot” bandage is it possible to achieve complete immobilization, which is necessary for a successful bone fusion.

In some cases, immobilization is not performed. These exceptions include:

  • cracks in the phalanges – they are repaired on their own;
  • 90 130 The first days after surgery on the leg with concomitant fracture of the fingers – a plaster cast is applied after the beginning of the healing of the postoperative wound;

  • use of the Ilizarov apparatus – fixation of fragments is provided by the device itself.

How long plaster is worn

The duration of limb immobilization in case of toe fractures depends on many factors – the complexity of the injury, age, concomitant pathologies that impede bone fusion. Dates of wearing plaster can be as follows:

  • for closed fractures without displacement – 2-3 weeks, working capacity is restored after 3-4 weeks;
  • for fractures with displacement or the presence of multiple fragments – 3-4 weeks, work capacity is restored after 6-8 weeks;
  • for open fractures or after osteosynthesis – 5-6 weeks, work capacity is restored after 9-10 weeks.


Physiotherapy exercises helps to restore the functions of the damaged finger.

The duration of rehabilitation after fractures of the toes depends on the same factors as the duration of immobilization. As a rule, the recovery period is about 3-4 weeks, but with multi-splinter injuries it is extended by 2 weeks. The development of complications leads to a significant slowdown in rehabilitation – it is almost doubled.

To restore the functions of the damaged finger, the following are assigned:

  • physiotherapy exercises;
  • massage courses;
  • physiotherapy procedures (UHF, hot salt or ozokerite applications, mechanotherapy, salt and soda baths).

A fractured toe should always be a reason to see a doctor.

Incorrect treatment of such injuries can lead to the development of serious complications that will cause the victim a lot of suffering and worsen his quality of life.

To eliminate such fractures, various techniques can be used, the choice of which depends on the nature of the fracture. Subject to all the recommendations of the doctor and the correct choice of the method of treatment, such injuries respond well to therapy.

Which doctor should I contact

If you suspect a toe fracture, you should consult an orthopedist. After examining the victim, the doctor will definitely prescribe an X-ray and, based on its results, draw up the most effective treatment plan.

Source: https://myfamilydoctor.ru/priznaki-pereloma-palca-na-noge-lechenie/

Fracture of the little toe: symptoms, first aid, treatment

The bones of the little finger are thin compared to other bones of the skeleton.Therefore, a fracture of the little toe is not uncommon. The probability of injuring the little toe is 5% of the sum of all fractures of the lower extremities. If we take into account the cases where the fracture was not treated, then the percentage will increase to 15%.


A common cause of a broken toe is trauma to the toe. Since the bone of the little finger is small and fragile, a weak impact is enough to get a fracture.

Falling a heavy object on the little finger or hitting a hard corner with a finger is enough to get the little toe fractured.

Another common cause leading to a fracture of the phalanx of the little finger is a pathological factor. This happens when there is insufficient bone strength due to a disease, for example:

  • tuberculosis;
  • osteoporosis;
  • the presence of tumors in the body;
  • osteomyelitis, etc.

A fracture of the little toe is often received by players in team sports such as football, field hockey, rugby. Despite the fact that the bone of the little finger is small and fragile, the fusion process takes a long period of time and requires maximum effort and patience.


Symptoms of a fracture of the little finger on the leg are pronounced, which makes it possible for the traumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and start treatment. When the little toe is broken, the person experiences the following symptoms:

  1. Acute local pain (directly in the little finger), or pain that affects the entire foot.
  2. Onset of edema. Immediately after the fracture, the foot becomes larger in size. The inflammatory process starts and the permeability of the walls of blood vessels increases.The process of edema performs a protective function; in case of a comminuted fracture, the swollen tissues prevent the displacement of bone fragments, which helps to avoid surgical intervention.
  3. Bruising (bruising). The phalanges of the finger are equipped with their own network of blood vessels and are well supplied with blood. When a bone fracture occurs, the walls of the blood vessels are damaged and some of the blood seeps into the soft tissue, which gives the injured toe a blue color.
  4. When the little finger is fractured with an offset, a deformity of the finger is formed, which is noticeable even to an inexperienced person.
  5. An open fracture is accompanied by damage to the skin and the formation of a wound through which fragments of bone tissue are visible.

First aid for fracture of the little toe

In case of an open fracture, the first step is to disinfect the wound. Otherwise, the sequence of actions for a closed and open fracture is the same.

  1. If a toe injury occurred while the foot was in the shoe, free the foot from the shoe and toe.The leg should be in a position that excludes even a slight impact on the toe. This will protect the victim from severe pain.
  2. It is imperative to take an analgesic that is at hand. The pain of the fracture builds up gradually, in order to prevent the feeling of unbearable pain, it is important to take anesthetic immediately. The drug takes time to take effect. The sooner the medicine enters the body, the faster the pain relief process will begin.
  3. If a displaced toe fracture occurs, an immobilization process must be performed.This process involves fixing the injured toe by wrapping it around the adjacent, healthy toe. This procedure helps to exclude further displacement of the bone fragments. After the immobilization procedure, you can start transporting the patient to a medical facility. With a fracture without displacement, immobilization is not required.
  4. Ice or cold object is applied to a broken finger. This will reduce pain and prevent the formation of swelling and inflammation.
  5. When applying ice to an injured finger, avoid direct contact of the ice with the skin. You need to use a compress with ice wrapped in a towel or a special heating pad.


It is possible to accurately determine the presence of a fracture of the little finger bone only with a doctor’s examination and examination of the fracture using an X-ray. An X-ray makes it possible to confirm or deny the diagnosis, to identify the type of fracture. There are several types of fracture:

  1. Non-displaced bone fracture.This is a type of fracture in which two pieces of bone are aligned with each other.
  2. Fracture of the little finger with displacement. With this type of fracture, parts of the bone are displaced, this type of fracture is rare, the recovery process is more difficult.
  3. Comminuted fracture. A complex type of fracture, in which several fragments are formed at once. With this type of fracture, it is often necessary to resort to surgical intervention in order to bring the bone fragments together and fix them.


There are two treatment options for the fracture:

  • conservative method;
  • surgical method.

A conservative method of treatment involves the application of a plaster cast to the site of injury. In case of a fracture of the little finger with a displacement, a reduction procedure is preliminarily performed. The bone fragments are returned to the anatomically correct position and fixed with a plaster cast.

The reduction process is carried out both without surgical intervention, and with its help. The doctor acts based on the type of fracture. Surgical reduction is used for comminuted fractures.

Fragments of bone are fixed using a plate, this method is called osteosynthesis.To avoid possible complications, the victim is prescribed pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Do you have to wear plaster cast if your little toe is broken?

Fracture of the little toe does not always require the application of a plaster cast, it is determined based on which part of the toe is injured. The decision to apply a plaster cast is made by the doctor.

  • If the nail phalanx is broken, the perforation procedure may be enough, the doctor will make an incision to rid the finger of blood accumulations.
  • If the main or middle phalanx of the toe is broken, then the entire foot is fixed with a plaster cast, and it is removed only after the final fusion of the bone.
  • It is also possible to install a pin or staples, depending on the complexity of the fracture.

The plaster cast can be replaced with a modern and comfortable analogue – an adhesive tape. It is a synthetic bandage impregnated with a special type of resin, which solidifies when wet. The doctor may suggest using a special brace for the little toe in case of a fracture.

How long does it take for the fracture of the little toe to heal?

The healing time of the bones of the little finger is individual and depends on the characteristics of the organism, the age of the patient, the nature of the fracture, etc. On average, it will take 1-2 months for the fracture to heal without displacement.


The main condition for quick recovery is the state of rest of the injured limb. The leg should not be stressed.

After the doctor concludes that the little finger bone has grown together, the plaster cast will be removed and the rehabilitation period will begin.

This period is dedicated to the development of the damaged toe in order to return it to its previous functionality and gradually prepare the finger for maximum stress.

The rehabilitation period consists of exercise therapy (physiotherapy exercises), a course of massage and physiotherapy procedures, enrichment of the diet with foods containing a lot of calcium, which helps to strengthen bone tissue.


Basically, a fracture of the little toe is not accompanied by pronounced clinical symptoms.Therefore, a late diagnosis of the injury occurs. If the pain is tolerable, some patients prefer to endure and do not seek advice from a traumatologist. In others, the fracture of the little finger goes completely unnoticed.

Inattentive treatment of the body and health can lead to serious consequences, which are extremely difficult to reverse.

Large bone callus

Callus formation occurs when any fracture heals. This connective tissue is formed to connect the fragments of the bone, ensuring its continuity and restoration of previous functions.The size of the callus depends on the distance between the bone fragments.

The more accurately the parts of the bone are matched, the thinner the callus will be, and the healing process will be faster. If a person does not seek qualified help and bone fragments are not repositioned, this contributes to the excessive proliferation of connective tissue between all fragments.

The result is slow healing of the injury, regular pain and inflammation.

False joint formation

Ignoring a displaced fracture leads to such a complication. Due to the distant bone fragments, the fusion process does not start.

The process of closing the bone canals begins, rounding off the fragments and the formation of two phalanxes in place of one phalanx. However, such a joint is not considered complete due to the lack of cartilage between the bones.

As a result, the constant rubbing of the bones against each other causes severe pain and provokes an inflammatory process.Such a finger cannot fully fulfill its function.


Ankylosis is the closure of the joint space by the fusion of two phalanges. This phenomenon is common when the little toe is fractured. It is associated with the anatomical structure of the bone of this finger.

The phalanges of the little finger are short, and the fracture affects the bone below the joint surface (subchondral region). A violent inflammatory process begins, which contributes to the fusion of the joint space.

Callus is formed first, which develops over time into bone tissue.


Osteomyelitis is the most severe consequence of bone fracture, which is difficult to treat. This is a purulent-necrotic process that takes place in the bone marrow and bones, affecting the surrounding soft tissues.

This process is a consequence of an open fracture, when bacteria and harmful microorganisms from the external environment penetrate into the inner layer of the bone. Therefore, it is so important to treat an open fracture with a disinfectant.

Fracture of the little toe is a dangerous and intractable injury.If you do not pay enough attention, in the long term there is a possibility of losing the functionality of the finger. If you find the slightest signs of a fracture of the little toe, even in the absence of pronounced symptoms, you need to contact a competent doctor who will provide the necessary medical assistance.

Source: https://ChtoiKak.ru/perelom-mizinca-na-noge.html

Effective treatment of a big toe fracture on DocDoc.ru

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How to Identify Fractures and Dislocations | Signs and symptoms of fracture and dislocation

Different types of injuries require completely different treatment; a trivial injury can hide serious tissue damage.And even the bruises themselves can have serious health consequences. It is very important not to delay the diagnosis and immediately contact a traumatologist.

What to do?

An x-ray will help determine the fracture. But if you get into a medical facility and make it impossible, you can focus on some symptomatic signs.

Signs of dislocation

  • Severe joint pain,
  • Impossibility of movement in it,
  • Forced fixation in a certain position that causes the least pain,
  • External deformation.

How to eliminate the dislocation?

Treating a dislocation with improvised means is a dangerous undertaking. The doctor should correct it, and the sooner the better. An old dislocation is more difficult to treat. The only thing that can be done is to provide peace to the injured joint, apply cold and call an ambulance.

Signs of fracture

Fracture is a violation of the integrity of the bone tissue. The signs or symptoms of a fracture are:

  • Pain,
  • Unnatural limb mobility,
  • Crunch when pressed,
  • The presence of visible fragments of bone,
  • Swelling in the area of ​​injury,
  • Symptom of axial load.

If you observe abnormal mobility and can even slightly bend the limb in a place where this is not foreseen by anatomy, then you most likely have a fracture. In case of dislocation, movement is completely blocked.

First aid

Fractures are often accompanied by lacerations, so there is a serious risk of tissue infection. It is necessary to stop the blood and apply a pressure bandage or tourniquet. Next, ensure the immobility of the damaged part of the body and apply cold.For severe pain, pain relievers can be administered. And go to the doctor immediately! Fractures and dislocations should only be treated by an experienced specialist using specialized medical instruments.

90,000 Fracture of a finger – causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Fracture of the finger is a violation of the integrity of the distal, middle or main phalanx of a finger or toe as a result of an injury. It is widespread damage. It can occur as a result of both direct and indirect traumatic effects: impact, falling of a heavy object, sharp eversion, etc.It is manifested by sharp pain, swelling, cyanosis and limited movement. In some cases, crepitus and pathological mobility are observed. The diagnosis is clarified using radiography. Treatment is usually conservative; in some cases, surgery is required.


Fracture of the finger is a very common traumatic injury due to both high activity and the thinness and insufficient strength of the distal upper and lower extremities compared to other segments.More often it occurs with direct injury, less often it is formed as a result of indirect effects (twisting or overextension). Usually formed as a result of a household, work or sports injury.

Compared to fractures of other limb bones, there is a large number of open injuries, since finger fractures are often the result of injuries when working on woodworking machines (both in the performance of professional duties and in everyday life, for example, in the country).Multiple finger fractures may occur, combined with dislocations (dislocation fractures of the fingers), damage to the ligaments, flexor and extensor tendons. Traumatologists are involved in the treatment of this pathology.

Fracture of the finger


Closed fractures of the fingers are caused by impact, excessive flexion, extension or twisting. Open fractures of the fingers of the upper limb can result from a direct impact (such as a hammer) or contact with moving machinery (such as a woodworking machine).Toe injuries are more often caused by direct trauma, such as twisting the leg, stumbling, toeing, or falling of a heavy object. Open injuries to the toes are common, but less common than similar injuries to the fingers, usually as a result of heavy falls or compression of the foot.


In the human hand there are 14 bones of the phalanges of the fingers. II-V fingers have three phalanges: proximal, middle and distal. I have only two phalanges – proximal and distal.The fingers perform a variety of delicate, complexly coordinated movements, so any injury can negatively affect the function of the hand and lead to a significant decrease in working capacity. With improper or untimely treatment, the outcome of a finger fracture can be contracture, decreased grip function or pain, even with small loads.

On the leg, as on the hand, there are 14 phalanges of the fingers – three phalanges (main, middle and distal) in the II-V fingers and two phalanges in the I finger (main and distal).Damage to the nail and middle phalanges, especially closed ones, respond well to treatment and do not further cause dysfunction of the foot. Fractures of the main phalanges, especially the first toe, require great attention, since improper fusion, stiffness or ankylosis of the metatarsophalangeal joint subsequently complicate the rolling of the foot during movement and cause constant pain when running or walking.


Taking into account the cause of occurrence in traumatology and orthopedics, the following types of finger fractures are distinguished:

  • Traumatic – violation of the integrity of the unchanged bone due to trauma.
  • Pathological – violation of the integrity of the altered bone in the area of ​​its pathological reconstruction. They arise when the bones of the phalanges of the fingers are damaged by any disease: osteomyelitis, tumor, osteoporosis, etc.

Taking into account the nature of the damage, such finger fractures are distinguished as:

  • Closed – without violating the integrity of the skin. These fractures can be complete or incomplete (cracks).
  • Open – with violation of the integrity of the skin.They can be initially open (the wound occurs at the time of injury) or secondarily open (a wound is formed when a fragment displaces and pierces the skin some time after injury).

Taking into account the peculiarities of the fracture line, the following finger fractures are distinguished:

  • Transverse – the fracture line is located perpendicular to the axis of the bone.
  • Oblique – the fracture line is located at an angle to the axis of the bone.
  • Helical – the break line resembles a spiral.
  • Fragmented – Several fragments are formed.
  • Edge – a “edge” is broken off from the bone, a small fragment.

There are finger fractures with and without displacement of fragments, as well as complex injuries: dislocation fractures, fractures in combination with ligament damage, tendon damage and soft tissue defect (with open injuries).

Symptoms of a finger fracture

At the time of injury, a sharp pain of an explosive nature occurs.The finger is swollen, cyanosis or crimson skin tone is possible. Often, hemorrhages are found under the nail or under the skin. When the fragments are displaced, deformation and shortening of the segment is revealed. With open lesions, bone fragments may be visible in the wound. Movement is difficult. The axial load is painful, crepitus and pathological mobility can be determined. The functions of the limb are grossly impaired: if a finger is injured, the patient cannot use the affected segment to grip objects and other simple actions; if a toe is injured, support is limited.

The intensity of manifestations in foot lesions varies depending on the location. Fractures of the distal phalanges II-V, as a rule, are accompanied by less pronounced symptoms, therefore, patients often mistake them for bruises and do not immediately consult a doctor. With fractures of the main phalanges of the II-V fingers, the signs of damage are more pronounced. A particularly vivid clinical picture is observed with fractures of the first toe.


Diagnostic search is carried out by a traumatologist.In case of damage to the upper limb, the diagnosis is clarified using radiography of the fingers of the hand. Pictures are performed in two projections, with the capture of adjacent joints. To clarify the nature of damage in case of injuries of the lower extremity, an X-ray of the toes is performed.

RG left hand. Oblique fracture of the middle phalanx of the fifth finger of the left hand.

Finger fracture treatment

The treatment plan depends on the type and nature of the injury. When choosing a tactic, a prerequisite is the ability to reliably restore normal relationships between all anatomical structures of the finger.For closed stable intra-articular fractures of the fingers of the hand without displacement, a plaster or polymer bandage is applied from the tips of the fingers to the middle third of the forearm, fixing the injured finger in a state of slight or moderate flexion.

For some fractures of the middle and nail phalanges, an adhesive or plastic bandage is used only on the finger, without fixing the forearm and wrist joint. Whenever possible, healthy fingers are left free for active movements.To reduce edema, the patient is advised to maintain an elevated position of the limb. To prevent the development of stiffness, it is advised to regularly, several times a day, make movements with healthy fingers.

As a rule, closed fractures of the fingers of the hand with displacement are well adjusted, and the fragments after reduction are reliably held in the correct position using a conventional plaster cast, therefore, in most cases, when the fragments are displaced, the usual one-step reduction is performed under local anesthesia.The exception is some oblique and comminuted fractures of the middle and main phalanges, prone to secondary displacement. In case of oblique fractures after reduction, percutaneous fixation with a wire is carried out; in case of comminuted injuries, either skeletal traction is applied by the finger, or surgical intervention is performed – open reduction and osteosynthesis with a wire, or (less often) with screws.

In case of intra-articular fractures with the formation of small triangular fragments, the formation of subluxation, the reversal of the fragment or its infringement in the joint is possible.In such cases, surgery is also necessary to prevent the development of contracture, ankylosis, or post-traumatic deforming arthrosis. Particularly unfavorable option are fragmented periarticular and intraarticular phalangeal fractures, in which the congruence of the articular surfaces cannot be restored due to their significant destruction. In such cases, immobilization is carried out in a functionally advantageous position (position of easy flexion).

For all open fractures of the finger (both with and without displacement), PST is performed.The wound is washed, the tendons are sutured, if possible, sutured to the skin, drainage is carried out with a rubber graduate. A stable open fracture is fixed with plaster; in case of unstable injuries, skeletal traction is applied to the nail phalanx. If the tendons cannot be restored due to the prescription of the injury (more than 6 hours before admission), tendon plasty is performed routinely, after the fracture has healed.

For closed fractures of the nail phalanges of the II-V toes without displacement, an adhesive bandage is used, in case of damage to the middle and main phalanges, a plantar plaster splint is applied.In case of a fracture of the first finger, a plaster boot is used from the tips of the fingers to the upper third of the lower leg. In case of displacement, reduction is carried out before the plaster is applied. Unstable oblique fractures, if necessary, are additionally fixed with a wire. Unstable comminuted injuries are immobilized using skeletal traction at the nail phalanx. Fractures of the main phalanx of the first toe, especially intra-articular fractures, may require surgical treatment. The fragments are compared through the incision and fixed with knitting needles, the wound is sutured, plaster is applied.

Forecast and prevention

Prevention is to prevent injury. The prognosis is favorable. The period of immobilization and the period of incapacity for work depends on the type of damage. Stable fractures of the fingers without displacement and with displacement are fixed with plaster for 2-3 weeks, working capacity is restored within 1 month. In case of unstable injuries, immobilization is usually carried out within 3 weeks, restoration of working capacity occurs after 4-7 weeks.

The recovery time for open fractures of the finger can vary greatly and is largely determined by the presence or absence of concomitant injuries, especially the condition of the tendons.For all types of injuries, both closed and open, when determining the period of disability, the localization of the fracture (which finger, which phalanx), hand (right or left) and the patient’s profession are taken into account.

The period of incapacity for work in case of damage to the nail phalanges of the toe is 10-15 days, in case of fractures of the main phalanges – from 2 to 4 weeks. If the outcome of a fracture of the main phalanges becomes ankylosis or stiffness of the metatarsophalangeal joint, the base of the phalanx is routinely resected.The operation gives good results, allows you to eliminate pain and to ensure the normal repulsion of the foot from the surface during movement.

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The big toe plays a critical role in generating leverage to generate forward momentum while running, and because of this, it is susceptible to several types of repetitive motion injuries.

Big toe injuries are not common among runners.According to one study, these injuries account for less than 5% of all running injuries.

In another study published in 2002, researchers found that none of the injuries affecting the big toe were in the top ten most common running injuries.

Regardless, a big toe injury can cause you to stop running for weeks or even months if you don’t diagnose it and take steps to treat it.

Despite its modest size, the big toe contains several anatomical components, each of which is susceptible to different kinds of damage.

Features of the thumb joint

The big toe is not just the joint between two bones. Since this finger is subject to a fairly large load during walking and running, its joint is well suited to create additional mechanical force.

One of these mechanisms of adaptation to stress is the presence of tiny bones called sesamoid (from the word “sesame”, that is, “sesame seed”, because these bones are so small).

These bones function like the kneecap. They create a mechanical advantage to increase force. However, the disadvantage of this is that the sesamoid bones, along with the ligaments and tendons that surround them, are susceptible to injury.

Due in part to the rarity of injuries to the big toe, we don’t know much about the risk factors for injury or which runners get them.

Based on the basic principles of biomechanics, it can be assumed that those who land on the forefoot, as well as middle-distance runners, may be more likely to injure their big toe due to the increased stress on the toe while running.

Elderly runners may also be at greater risk of injury to the big toe because some of the damage is associated with chronic degenerative changes in the joint that accumulate over the years.

How is a big toe injury diagnosed and treated in runners?

When big toe pain interferes with running, the first step is to accurately diagnose the injury. Big toe pain is not like Achilles tendon pain, in which case it is quite obvious what the problem is.

There are many possible causes of big toe pain. This can be arthrosis of the metatarsophalangeal joint, joint inflammation from running on artificial turf, sesamoiditis or tendonitis of the long flexor of the thumb tendon.All of these can cause severe pain while running.

  • Hallux rigidus is a type of degenerative arthritis of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. One of the hallmarks of this condition is the stiffness of the thumb joint. Your range of motion will be limited, and walking barefoot is likely to be more painful than walking with shoes. The finger may swell a little, but there will be no bruising.Fortunately, a doctor can easily diagnose Hallux rigidus and assess the severity of the condition with a simple X-ray. The disadvantage is that, since it is a degenerative condition, treatment mainly focuses on reducing the stress on the joint by wearing orthopedic insoles or shoes and using anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling. In more complex cases, surgery is sometimes required to remove the bony growths that develop in the joint when the cartilage wears out.
  • Hallux valgus is the medical term for hallux valgus, which is perhaps the easiest injury to diagnose. If you have pain on the side of the big toe and the toe deviates inward, you almost certainly have Hallux valgus. If the angle at which your thumb tilts inward is not too great, a small modification to the shoe may help. Some runners simply take a razor blade and cut a cut in the side of the shoe to relieve pressure on the side of the thumb, but buying a shoe with more toe room can also work.
  • Joint inflammation from running on artificial turf is one of the most common causes of big toe pain in athletes. While this occurs most commonly in soccer players, it also affects runners. Overextension of the joint causes damage to the ligaments that surround the thumb, resulting in severe swelling, bruising, and severe pain when you try to walk. Ligaments take time to heal, so to treat this injury, you need to apply cold, rest your leg, and use a splint to immobilize the joint while it heals.It is a good idea to see your doctor for this, because many medical professionals recommend that the joint of the thumb be fixed in a certain position to ensure that the ligaments do not stay too stretched.

Excessive overextension of the big toe, like the one shown in the photo, can cause inflammation of the big toe joint.

As you gradually return to running from this kind of injury, you can use a special turf toe taping technique to reduce the stress on your thumb area.Taping limits your thumb’s ability to overextend, so it’s a good precaution when you start running again.

What is sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the sesamoid bones. It is characterized by pain that is concentrated directly behind the ball of the foot. Pain is associated with direct pressure on the ball of the foot rather than flexion or extension of the big toe.

You can usually cause pain simply by pressing on the ball of your foot with your thumb.Sesamoiditis will cause more pain when walking barefoot, especially on a hard surface.

Treatment for sesamoiditis involves reducing the load on the pad, ideally to such an extent that the load the foot is subjected to while running does not exacerbate the damage. Resting can help, but you can also use standard orthopedic insoles or order custom insoles with an indentation for the ball of the foot.

Keep in mind that this will reduce stress on the pad but increase stress on the forefoot as a whole, so use this method wisely.Other than that, there is no special exercise or anything else you can do to heal the sesamoid bones; just rest your legs and apply cold.

Stress fracture of the sesamoid bone

In some cases, foot pain may be caused not just by sesamoiditis, but by a stress fracture of the sesamoid bone. The pain from a stress fracture will be more severe and may limit your ability to walk in general, especially barefoot.The best way to diagnose a stress fracture is with an MRI, although some doctors use conventional X-rays for diagnosis.

The latter can lead to a false positive diagnosis, since up to one third of the population have “dicotyledonous” sessamoid bones. This means that one or more of these bones are naturally divided into 2 parts, which can be mistaken for a sesamoid fracture.

Stress fractures of the sesamoid bones often do not heal well, so you need to wear an orthopedic shoe, splint, or custom insole for at least a few weeks to ensure that the healing process is going well.

Tendonitis of the long flexor tendon of the big toe

Finally, big toe pain can be caused by long flexor tendon tendonitis. The long flexor is a muscle that helps bend your thumb downward and helps you push off the ground as you run. Because the tendon of the muscle runs under the sesamoid bones and attaches to the big toe, the pain of its tendonitis can be localized in the joint or spread to the arch of the foot.

In some cases, tendonitis of this tendon can be mistaken for plantar fasciitis. After all, this tendonitis can cause pain that spreads to the arch of the foot, and gets worse when you push off the ground with your foot.

It should be noted that tendonitis of this tendon is rare and especially rarely affects the area of ​​the tendon that is located under the big toe. The good news is that tendon injuries heal well with stretching and strengthening exercises.

In 2005, Drs. James Michaelson and Laura Dunn suggested using 3 stretching exercises to treat tendonitis of this tendon. Exercises should be performed several times a day for 10 seconds each. These 3 exercises are variations on the normal calf stretch and create controlled stretching tension in the long flexor tendon of the big toe.

The authors report good results in a large number of patients with this procedure alone, although some of them required surgery

3 exercises for stretching the gastrocnemius muscle proposed by Michaelson and Dunn.Do them several times a day for 10 seconds each to treat extensor longissimus tendonitis.

In 2015, researchers in Japan and California proposed adding toes dangling toes dangling from a step to the above exercises.

The purpose of this movement is not to strengthen the long extensor of the big toe, but rather to relieve stress by training the body to use other muscles when pushing off the ground with the toe.

The study authors did not provide any specific guidance, but a good starting point would be 15 toe raises of one leg with toes dangling from a step, performed every day, with a gradual progression of training volume to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Modified one leg toe raises suggested by Rowley and colleagues. Do this exercise daily to treat extensor longissimus tendonitis.

How to diagnose and treat a big toe injury

Since there are so many possible causes of big toe pain in runners, and since some of the injuries require a long break from training, your # 1 priority should be to figure out the exact cause of your pain.

Degenerative arthritis, hallux valgus, joint inflammation, sesamoid or stress fracture of the sesamoid bone, and long flexor tendon tendonitis of the thumb are all possible candidates.

Determining exactly what the problem is can be difficult. Therefore, it makes sense to see a doctor, as you may need to take an X-ray or, in more rare cases, an MRI to diagnose the problem accurately.

The correct treatment will largely depend on the specific diagnosis. Unfortunately, most big toe injuries require prolonged abstinence from running, and in some cases even the use of a splint.

Orthopedic shoes or custom insoles can also be helpful if the goal is to reduce pressure on a specific area of ​​the foot, such as with hallux valgus or sesamoiditis.

For any injury to the big toe, the main treatments are to: 1) allow the affected area to heal or reduce the degree of inflammation, and 2) reduce the stress on the big toe.

Returning to running will also depend on the specific injury causing the big toe pain, but unfortunately most injuries require weeks or even months of abstaining from training.