Signs your toe is broken: The request could not be satisfied
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:
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Gravlee JR, et al. Toe fractures in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 22, 2017.
- 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 Overview
Another name for a broken toe is a toe fracture. Each toe is made up of several bones. One or more of these bones may be fractured after an injury to the foot or toes.
Broken Toe Causes
Broken toes usually result from some form of trauma or injury to the foot or toe. Injuries such as stubbing a toe or dropping a heavy object on a toe may cause a fracture. Sometimes, a broken toe may result from prolonged repetitive movements, as in certain sports activities. This is called a stress fracture.
Broken Toe Symptoms
- After the injury, pain, swelling, or stiffness can occur. Bruising of the skin around the toe may also be noticeable. The toe may not look normal, and it may even look bent or deformed if the broken bone is out of place. It may be difficult to walk because of the pain, especially if the big toe is fractured.
- Shoes may be painful to wear or feel too tight.
- Some other problems may develop in addition to, or as a result of, the fracture. These complications can occur right away after the injury (minutes to days), or can happen much later (weeks to years).
- Immediate complications
- Nail injury: A collection of blood may develop underneath the toenail called a subungual hematoma. If it is large, it may have to be drained. To drain a subungual hematoma a doctor will make a small hole in the toenail to drain the blood out. If the hematoma is very large or painful, the entire toenail may need to be removed.
- Open fracture: Rarely, the broken bone in a toe fracture may stick out through the skin. This is called an open or compound fracture. Careful cleansing of the wound and possibly antibiotic medication will be needed to prevent the bone from becoming infected. Sometimes surgery may even be necessary.
- Delayed complications
- After the toe fracture heals, the person may still be left with arthritis, pain, stiffness, or even a deformity.
- Sometimes, the fractured bone will not heal completely (called a nonunion), or will heal improperly (called a malunion). Although it’s rare, surgery may be necessary to fix this problem.
- Immediate complications
When to Seek Medical Care
The injured toe should be looked at every day. Call a doctor if any of the following occur:
- Worsening or new pain not relieved by pain medication and the measures described in the treatment section
- Sores, redness, or open wounds near the injured toe
- A cast or splint is damaged or broken
Go to a hospital’s emergency department if the following signs or symptoms are present:
- Cold, numb, or tingling toes
- Blue or gray-colored skin
- Open wounds, bleeding, or drainage from near the broken toe
Exams and Tests
A doctor will ask some questions to determine how the toe was injured. Then the doctor will examine the injured toe and should also make sure there are no other injuries.
It is best to seek medical evaluation soon after the injury to ensure proper treatment and healing.
- A doctor may take an X-ray to see if a toe is broken or fractured.
- X-rays are not always necessary to make the diagnosis of a broken toe, especially if the break is in one of the smaller toes.
Broken Toe Treatment Self-Care at Home
These are things that can be done at home to help decrease the pain and swelling and to help the fracture heal properly.
- Swelling that occurs after the injury worsens pain.
- To help decrease the swelling (and the pain), keep the foot raised above the level of the heart as much as possible.
- Prop the foot up on some pillows, especially when sleeping. Reclining in a lounge chair is also helpful.
- Put ice in a plastic bag and apply it to the injury for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours for the first 1-2 days.
- Make sure to place a towel between the skin and the bag of ice to protect the skin.
- Avoid any strenuous exercise, prolonged standing, or walking.
- Crutches may be needed, or a special shoe to wear when walking to avoid putting weight on the fracture while it heals.
Depending on the location and severity of the toe fracture, the fracture may need to be reduced (put back into place) and splinted or casted. If there is an open wound near the injured toe, a tetanus shot and antibiotic medication may also be necessary.
- Usually only acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is needed for pain.
- Talk to the doctor before taking any new medications.
- For a severe fracture, the doctor may prescribe something stronger.
- Pain may be helped by elevating the foot and using ice packs.
- If the toe fracture is displaced (the 2 ends of the broken bone are out of place) or rotated (the toe is pointing in the wrong direction), the doctor may need to reduce it, or put it back into place.
- Sometimes a shot of medication (called local anesthesia) may be needed to numb the toe before it is put back into place.
- After a reduction, the broken bone will need support to hold it in place while it heals.
- Buddy taping
- If the toe fracture is a minor or small fracture in a bone of one of the small toes, a doctor may only need to tape the injured toe to the one next to it for support. This treatment is also called buddy taping.
- If the toe is buddy taped, it is usually safe to bathe, and then replace the tape afterward, but check with the doctor to make sure it is OK.
- Make sure to put a small piece of cotton or gauze between the toes that are taped together. This prevents the skin between the toes from developing sores or blisters.
- A cast is usually not required for a simple toe fracture.
- A hard-soled, sturdy, and supportive shoe should be worn.
- A doctor may suggest a special shoe to wear if the foot or toes are very swollen.
- A cast (or even surgery) may be needed if the big toe is broken, a fracture involves a joint, or a lot of small toe fractures occur at once.
- A cast may also be needed if a bone in the foot or leg is broken in addition to the toe.
Next Steps Follow-up
Talk to the doctor to find out when to schedule an appointment to have the injured toe re-checked to make sure it is healing properly. If any problems or complications develop sooner, the appointment should be scheduled sooner.
To help prevent an injury resulting in a broken toe, sturdy and supportive shoes should be worn.
Broken toes usually take about 6 weeks to heal. If problems last longer than 6 weeks, another X-ray may be needed, or the injury should be rechecked by the doctor to see how the bone is healing.
Simple fractures usually heal well with no problems. However, a very bad fracture or a fracture that goes into a joint is at risk for developing arthritis, pain, stiffness, and possibly even a deformity.
For More Information
American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine
5272 River Road, Suite 500
Bethesda, MD 20816
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
9400 W. Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Synonyms and Keywords
toe fracture, metatarsal fracture, phalanx fracture, broken toe, foot trauma, foot injury, nail injury, subungual hematoma, open fracture, compound fracture, displaced toe fracture, rotated toe fracture, buddy taping, stress fracture
Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine: Podiatry
A broken toe isn’t usually the same kind of major emergency as, say, a broken wrist. But it can still cause a great deal of pain. Whether you got a broken toe as a result of running or stubbing your toe on the coffee table, it can cause pain and swelling and severely hamper your mobility.
While broken toes heal on their own most of the time, certain cases may require surgery. In this blog, the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain the signs of a broken toe and what you should do if you break one.
Symptoms of a broken toe
If you break your toe, you’ll likely feel a lot of pain. However, sprains can also cause a lot of pain. Usually, only a doctor can tell the difference between a break or sprain. In pretty much all cases, if you think your toe might be broken, you should see a doctor. Other symptoms of a broken toe can include the following:
- Shoes may be uncomfortable or painful to wear
- The toe may be bent or otherwise deformed
In some cases, a broken bone may stick out through your skin. In these cases, you should get help immediately.
How we treat broken toes
The first thing your provider will likely do is take X-rays of your toe. If your injury is only a sprain, the pain and discoloration should go away within a couple of days. If your toe is broken, treatment could take a few different routes.
If you have an open wound, your provider may give you a tetanus shot and a course of antibiotics. If you don’t need surgery, your provider may tape your broken toe to a neary toe to give it stability. In most cases, a broken toe will heal on its own in 4-6 weeks.
In some cases, your provider may manipulate the bones back into their proper place in a procedure called a reduction. Your provider may also recommend wearing a stiff-bottomed shoe or a walking cast to keep the bones in place.
If you do need surgery, it will likely be performed as an outpatient procedure. With the surgery, your provider may place plates, pins, or screws to hold your bones in place.
What are the long-term effects?
Most people heal from broken toes without any long-term effects. However, some people may develop infections or arthritis in the affected toe. If this happens, the effects could last your lifetime. No matter the state of your broken toe, at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine, our providers will give your toe the care it needs so you can get healthy again.
If you think you might have a broken toe, come to the expert foot doctors at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine. We’ll give your toe a thorough examination and get you on the best path forward. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.
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.
Symptoms, treatment, and other conditions
A broken pinky toe is a fracture of the smallest toe. The term “broken toe” usually describes a traumatic fracture, which can occur due to a direct blow or impact, such as stubbing the toe or dropping something on it.
The pinky toe is a commonly broken toe, and the fracture usually occurs at its base.
This article looks at the symptoms of a broken small toe, along with some other problems that can cause pain and swelling in the area. It also examines the treatment and management options for this injury.
The most common symptoms of a broken pinky toe include:
- a snapping, grinding, or popping noise at the time of the break
- pain at the place of impact at the time the fracture occurs
- the toe appearing to be crooked
- redness, bruising, and swelling
If there is an open wound, a person should seek immediate medical attention to prevent infection.
Other than a broken pinky toe, there are many reasons a person might have pain or swelling in their smallest toe.
People can treat most of these causes at home. However, if home remedies do not seem to be working, it is important to see a doctor, as the issue could turn out to be something more serious.
The following sections outline some other causes of pain and swelling in the pinky toe in more detail.
A stress fracture, or a hairline fracture, is a small crack or severe bruising within a bone.
It is slightly different from a traumatic fracture, as it usually occurs due to overuse and repetitive activity.
- pain during or after performing normal activities
- pain that goes away when resting but returns when standing or during activity
- painful to the touch
- swelling but no bruising
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the most important treatment for a stress fracture is rest.
Advising that it takes up to 8 weeks for most fractures to heal, the AAOS warn against resuming the activity that caused the stress fracture to occur too quickly. They warn that this could lead to long-term problems.
As well as resting, using shoe inserts or braces can help stress fractures heal.
Learn more about stress fractures here.
A sprain occurs when there is damage to a ligament. Ligaments are the bands of tough, elastic connective tissue that connect the bones in the toes to each other.
- difficulty walking
- tender to the touch
The AAOS categorize sprains into three grades:
- Grade I: This is characterized by overstretched ligaments, a minimal loss of function, and mild pain.
- Grade II: This is characterized by a partially torn ligament, moderate pain, and difficulty putting weight on the toe.
- Grade III: This is characterized by a complete tear of the ligament, severe pain, a total loss of function, and an inability to bear weight.
Treatment depends on the severity of the sprain but could include:
- resting the toe
- icing the toe
- wearing a compression sock
- using crutches to aid walking
- taking pain relief medication
- using a walking boot, which is a stiff boot that protects the toe as it heals
Learn about the difference between a sprain and a strain here.
A dislocation is a complete separation of the bones in a joint. The bones then move out of their normal position.
- severe pain
- deformity or displacement of the toe
- swelling and bruising
- numbness or tingling
- difficulty moving the toe
- “buddy” taping it to an adjacent toe
- using a splint
- wearing a cast
- trying a walking boot
A bunion is a painful, bony bump on the toe joint.
A bunion on the pinky toe is called a tailor’s bunion. Historically, this name comes from the tailors who sat cross-legged all day, with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on hard surfaces.
- a visible bump on the outside of the pinky toe
- pain and tenderness at the site of the bump
- redness and inflammation
- a callus or corn on the bump
In some cases, corticosteroid injections can help treat the inflamed tissue around the joint. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases.
Learn more about tailor’s bunions here.
Corns are hard, thickened areas of skin that form as a result of friction or pressure. Corns are the foot’s natural defense to help protect the skin underneath them. They are a response to bone pressure against the skin.
Corns may develop on the tops and sides of the toes and on the balls of the feet.
- a hardened patch of skin
- open sores between the toes
- pain when wearing shoes
- shaving the corn, but only when a health professional carries it out
- soaking the feet and using a pumice stone on the corn
- wearing a donut shaped foam pad over the corn to reduce the pressure
Learn more about corn remedies here.
It is best to visit a doctor as soon as someone suspects that there is something wrong. This is particularly important if a person hears a snapping, grinding, or popping noise at the time of the break.
If a person leaves a broken toe untreated, it can get worse and cause lasting problems.
The doctor will examine the foot, gently pressing on different areas to find out where there is pain.
They will also order X-rays. Additional imaging studies may be necessary if the initial X-ray does not show anything.
It is a myth that nothing can mend broken toes. In fact, leaving them without treatment can lead to future complications.
Healing of a broken toe may take 6–8 weeks.
A person may need to have their broken toe buddy taped to an adjacent one. Wearing a stiff-soled shoe can also help, as can using crutches to help keep weight off of the toe while it heals.
Rarely, a person may need to wear a cast to keep the foot immobile.
Surgery may be necessary if there are multiple breaks or if nonsurgical treatment does not work.
Also, if a fracture leads to large amounts of blood underneath the nail, a person may need to take antibiotics and undergo nail removal.
Taking NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help decrease swelling and pain.
At home, people can use the RICE method to try to reduce swelling and allow the pinky toe to heal.
- Rest: Give the toe time to heal.
- Ice: Ice the toe for up to 20 minutes four times per day.
- Compression: Using an elastic bandage or brace can provide support and reduce swelling.
- Elevate: Elevating the foot above the heart can also help reduce swelling.
Learn more about the RICE method here.
The pinky toe works with the rest of the toes to keep a person balanced. A person’s foot works in a tripod fashion to keep them balanced, with the little toe being one part, the big toe another, and the heel the third.
Sustaining damage to any part of this tripod can affect a person’s range of motion.
Learn more about the bones of the feet here.
It might be small, but the pinky toe plays a vital role in keeping a person balanced. Therefore, any damage to it can cause issues.
It is important to seek medical attention if a person suspects a broken toe, as it can get worse without treatment.
A person can treat milder problems at home, by changing their footwear, taking NSAIDs, and resting. A medical team can treat more serious issues.
Broken Toe: Symptoms, Treatment, and Complications
Most people have dropped something on their foot at some point and wondered if they had a broken toe—or if the pain will just go away on its own.
A broken toe may not be obvious, but the most common signs that you fractured it includes severe pain and an audible cracking or popping sound that is heard when the small bone in the toe fractures.
Here’s what you should know about broken toes, including causes, symptoms, treatment, and possible complications.
Jeannot Olivet / Getty Images
Most broken toes are the result of dropping something heavy on the toe. However, there are some other less common causes of a broken toe:
- A missed step
- A severely stubbed toe
- An aggravated stress fracture from repeated impact on a hard surface
- Abnormal foot structure
A broken toe is a painful injury. The pain typically comes on instantly and is very intense. Other symptoms of a broken toe include:
- Swelling and bruising
- Trouble walking normally (However, being able to walk on a toe does not rule out a break.)
- Pain while walking or putting on shoes
Typically, these symptoms warrant a visit to your doctor for assessment.
Go to the emergency room if any of the following also apply:
- A traumatic or crushing toe injury
- A sudden increase in severe pain or swelling
- An open wound or bleeding
- Sudden numbness or tingling
- A crooked or deformed toe
- Fever or chills
If the trauma to your toe has broken the skin and you can see bone, it is likely that you have a compound fracture, which will require immediate medical care.
Your doctor will be able to tell by sight or, in some cases, with imaging, if your toe is broken and how it should be treated.
For example, if you have an obvious toe deformity, an X-ray will determine if the bone needs any special treatment, such as splinting or applying a cast.
Unless it’s serious, most broken toes can be treated modestly.
Less severe toe fractures can sometimes be cared for at home with simple injury treatment that includes rest, ice, and elevation. Keep these tips in mind in the days following your injury:
- Avoid walking or putting excess pressure on the joint.
- Ice the affected toe several times a day for no more than 20 minutes.
- Keep your foot elevated when you can to decrease the swelling in the foot.
- Wear a shoe with a stiff sole to prevent any movement of the joint while walking.
- Talk to your doctor about using over-the-counter pain medication.
When intervention is needed, most cases are treated with a splint, or buddy taping, in which the broken toe is taped to the toe next to it in order to keep it stable and aligned as it heals.
After the splint or buddy taping is removed, it’s safe to begin gentle stretching and exercises for the broken toe. The goal of these exercises, which can be prescribed by a healthcare provider, is to obtain the same range of motion as the same toe on the opposite foot.
If your injury causes your toe to appear crooked or if you think you’ve broken your big toe, this is considered serious. A broken big toe may require a cast and if your toe appears deformed, a doctor may need to set it back in place or perform surgery.
It is also possible, in rare cases, for a small bit of bone to break off during the trauma of a toe injury, which would require surgery in order for the toe to heal properly.
With proper medical care, most broken toes will health within four to six weeks.
The most common complication of a broken toe is trauma to the toenail of the affected toe. Toenails may become discolored, turn black and blue, and even fall off.
The toenail will usually regrow normally, but it may be wise to see a foot doctor as you heal. A podiatrist can help you avoid ingrown toenails or any infection in the nail bed as your toe heals. If blood collects under the nail, a doctor may need to make a small hole in the nail to allow the blood to escape.
In addition, some people are more prone to chronic pain or stiffness in the affected joint after a broken toe. In some cases, arthritis may develop in joint the future.
If a broken toe isn’t treated properly, nonunion (failure to heal) or malunion (healing in an incorrect position) can occur. This can cause deformity and chronic pain down the line and may be cause for surgery.
A Word From Verywell
Intense pain in a toe could also be a signal of a stress fracture, which is usually caused by overtraining or overuse, repeated pounding or impact on a hard surface, or increasing the time, type, or intensity of exercise too rapidly.
Regardless of the suspected cause, you should consult with a healthcare provider about any foot pain that continues for more than one week.
90,000 Five myths about fractures: what is really worth fearing
- Claudia Hammond
- BBC Future
Photo by 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 for 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 finger 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 you 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
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 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.
As for 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 higher bone mass gained in childhood and a 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
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 point is that the bones on either side of the victim support each other naturally, acting as 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 to 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, links to which are present on this page, and also does not 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.
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:
- Fracture of the big toe of the leg – often accompanied by a fracture of the sesamoid bone.Intra-articular lesions are most difficult to treat,
- 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
A 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 except 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.Painful 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 fractured toe 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.
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 for this damage, first aid will be slightly different.
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 digits 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 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 gradually 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.
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 plaster. 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 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. If a fracture of the phalanx of one of the toes does not heal properly, callus may form. This is an abnormal tissue at the fusion site. Its size sometimes exceeds 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 damage. 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 often – 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 consumption of oxalic and uric acids.
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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 widespread types of injuries sustained by a person in everyday life.
To obtain such a serious mechanical damage to the bone tissue, the application of minor efforts is sufficient. 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.
The absence of such 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 the victim with first aid.
Symptoms and signs of a toe fracture may vary somewhat in direct proportion to the nature of the injury. At the same time, 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 bones 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 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.
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, trying to diagnose at home is still not worth it. To determine a fracture, you should definitely see a doctor.
Among the many diagnostic methods, radiography 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.
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 the ambulance, you can give the patient any pain medication.
Emergency medical care primarily consists of 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 the 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.
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 damaged, it is sufficient to fix them with an elastic patch, 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 bone tissue and the formation of a callus.
- 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.
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 knitting 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.
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 tissue, 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.
Application of these techniques on a regular basis will allow to normalize, stabilize the condition of the affected finger and limb, prevent possible complications, and quickly return to the previous full life.
Signs of a 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 with a banal kick of a leg on 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, open and closed fractures of the toes can be:
- no offset.
Fractures of the toes with displacement can be:
- angular offset;
- with wedging;
- lateral offset;
- with longitudinal divergence;
- with longitudinal engagement.
Angular displacement of fragments of the phalanges often occurs in children and is rarely observed.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:
- one- or two-splinted;
Splinter-free fractures usually occur during falls. One- and two-splintered – when struck with a blunt object, and multi-splintered – when struck by an object with an uneven surface (for example, a stone).
Depending on the fault line, the fracture may be:
- 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 for determining a 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;
- 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 finger 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.
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:
- Eliminate the traumatic factor and seat the patient in a comfortable position, giving the leg an elevated position.
- Give an analgesic drug to take: Analgin, Nimesil, Ibufen, Ketanol, etc. Or, if possible, perform an intramuscular injection of an analgesic.
- In the presence of open wounds, treat them with an antiseptic solution and apply a bandage from a sterile bandage.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 gradually 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.
This method of treating fractures of the toes is indicated when closed reduction is not possible. 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.
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.
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;
- improper fusion of fragments;
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 bandages 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;
- The first days after surgery on the leg with a concomitant fracture of the fingers – a plaster cast is applied after the beginning of the healing of the postoperative wound;
- using 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.
Fracture of the little toe: symptoms, first aid, treatment
The bones of the little finger are thin compared to other bones in 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 has not been treated, 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:
- 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:
- Acute local pain (directly in the little finger), or pain that covers the entire foot.
- The appearance 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 edema process 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.
- 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.
- When the little finger is fractured with an offset, a deformity of the finger is formed, which is noticeable even to an inexperienced person.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 the pain reliever right away. The drug takes time to take effect. The sooner the medicine enters the body, the faster the pain relief process will begin.
- 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.
- Ice or cold object is applied to a broken finger. This will reduce pain and prevent the formation of swelling and inflammation.
- 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:
- Bone fracture without displacement.This is a type of fracture in which two pieces of bone are juxtaposed.
- Fracture of the little finger with displacement. With this type of fracture, parts of the bone are displaced, this type of fracture is rare, and the recovery process is more difficult.
- 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 a plaster cast if your little toe is broken?
A fracture of the little toe does not always require a 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 – scotch tape. It is a synthetic bandage impregnated with a special type of resin, which solidifies when wet. The doctor may suggest the use of 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 little finger bones is individual and depends on the characteristics of the organism, the patient’s age, 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, there is a late diagnosis of the injury. 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.
Inattention to the body and health can lead to serious consequences, which are extremely difficult to reverse.
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 tissue 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 connected 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 loss of finger functionality. 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.
90,000 How to identify fractures and dislocations | Signs and symptoms of fracture and dislocation
Different types of injuries require completely different treatment; a banal 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 earlier, 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:
- 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.
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 Fractures of the phalanges of the fingers – symptoms, diagnosis, treatment at the Central Clinical Hospital of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Fractures of the phalanges of the fingers occur both with a direct mechanism of injury – a fall, blow to the finger, and with an indirect mechanism – for example, as a result of forced rotational movements (twisting) of the finger.Depending on this, the types of fractures of the phalanges of the fingers are distinguished – oblique, comminuted, transverse, helical. The approaches to the treatment of these fractures are somewhat different from each other.
With a fracture, acute pain is felt, deformity of the finger may occur, and edema appears.
The average term for the fusion of the phalanges of the fingers is about 3-4 weeks.
Treatment of fractures of the phalanges of the fingers
Fractures of the phalanges of the fingers with little or no displacement are treated with a plaster cast for 3-4 weeks.When displaced, to ensure movement in the joints of the fingers, surgical treatment is performed – osteosynthesis (fixation of fragments). This helps to avoid the formation of joint stiffness (contractures), which in the most advanced cases can lead to the formation of ankylosis (complete absence of movement in the joint).
In case of fractures with displacement of fragments, their fixation is usually required – possible options: fixation with wires through skin punctures (the wires remain protruding above the skin), a plate and / or screws that are installed through the incision.When the braces are installed, movements in the joints of the finger can be developed a few days after the operation.
In case of fractures of the base or head of the phalanx, fixation is usually carried out with pins or screws, for fractures of the diaphysis – with screws or a plate. For multi-splinter fractures of the phalanges of the fingers, an external fixation device can be installed.
A plaster cast after surgery, as a rule, is not applied. The exception is severe unstable comminuted fractures.
The average hospital stay is about 5 days.
The final choice of the method of osteosynthesis remains with the attending physician, based on medical indications, the nature of displacement of fragments, functional requirements for the hand.
90,000 Symptoms and principles of treatment of limb fractures using traditional medicine
Fractures of the arms and legs – general principles for the treatment of fractures of the extremities
In the statistics of serious injuries, fractures of the arms and legs rank first.And this is not surprising, because these parts are more mobile and are more used in a given situation. Falls are the most common cause of injury in winter. The tactics of treating limb fractures directly depends on many factors, and the consequences of this type of injury depend on the fulfillment of medical prescriptions.
Signs of limb fracture
Most of these injuries manifest themselves in the same way:
- pathological mobility;
Pain and dysfunction occur immediately at the time of injury. Pain may be mild at first, even with significant damage. This is due to the release of endorphins – natural analgesic substances. After a short time, their number decreases and the pain becomes maximum.
The edema increases gradually. Initially, it is localized only at the point of impact (if it was inflicted), but later spreads above and below the site of injury.
Pathological mobility appears with a complete fracture of the bone body.In this case, the bone fragments are displaced relative to each other at the fracture site.
Deformity is noted in cases of displacement of parts of the broken bone from the normal axis.
Signs of fracture of the bones of the hands
The hands are composed of 27 bones. Among the carpal bones, the scaphoid is most often affected, less often the lunate. The symptoms of a hand fracture are pain, swelling, and dysfunction.
With injuries to the metacarpal bones and fingers, which account for 2.5% and 5% of all fractures, all these signs are noted.
Symptoms of fracture of the bones of the shoulder and forearm
The most common is the so-called fracture of the radius of the typical localization. This bone has one place that most often breaks when falling onto an outstretched arm. The shoulder bones can also be damaged when falling on a hand, even if it is pressed against the body. All the described signs of a fracture are inherent in this localization.
Fractures of the thigh, lower leg
These fractures occur as a result of excessive axial load, blows to the thigh and lower leg, car accidents, and in old people – from falling to the side (this is how the femoral neck breaks).Symptoms of damage to this localization are quite diverse. For cervical hip fractures, the turn of the foot outward and the inability to lift the extended leg upward is characteristic. With fractures of the fibula, the main symptom is pain (the supporting function is not impaired), with trauma to the tibia, displacement often occurs due to the peculiarities of the attachment of muscles to it. Swelling of the leg after a fracture of the lower leg is also very common. Moreover, due to the compression of the vessels, it can persist for quite a long time even after the veins are released from the bone fragment pressing on them.
The most common of all fractures of the bones of the lower extremities are various fractures of the ankles. They usually occur when the leg is tucked and the entire weight is transferred to it. Less commonly, the ankles suffer from a direct blow. Composing the ankle joint, they perform a supporting function, therefore, when they are fractured, a person’s ability to step on the injured leg drops sharply. The pain of a fracture of the ankle is very strong, it is she who makes the victim to spare the site of injury.
Fractures of the bones of the foot
Pain is the most common symptom for this type of injury. In case of damage to the bones of the tarsus (calcaneus, talus, etc.), the support function of the foot is also impaired. With injuries to other bones, a person can step on the foot, but spares it.
Fracture of the little toe, which is a symptom of pain, does not impair the support function of the limb. Even if two or more fingers are injured, a person can walk, however, very carefully.
Treatment of limb fractures
Treatment tactics depend on whether the victim’s fracture is open or closed. There are also community principles.
In case of a closed fracture, ensure the rest of the injured limb and immediately apply an immobilizing splint from any available means – a stick, a board, a piece of plywood or plastic, even from glossy magazines rolled into a tube! You should not try to straighten a broken arm or leg; immobilization is performed in the position in which the limb is located immediately after the injury.After immobilization, the victim is taken to the hospital.
First aid for open fractures of the extremities should begin not with immobilization, but with stopping bleeding. To do this, apply a pressure bandage to the wounds, and if it is ineffective, a hemostatic tourniquet, also made from scrap materials – a tie, belt, cord, rope, etc. Only after a reliable stop of bleeding is the limb immobilized according to the rules described above and the victim is taken to the hospital.
Further treatment of closed fractures is the application of a plaster cast or splints in order to ensure complete immobility of the limb and allow the bones to heal. The immobilization period depends on the severity and location of the fracture. Removal of the cast after ankle fracture is performed after 4-6 weeks, and in case of injuries to the wrist bones – even after 3 months from the moment of injury.
Surgical intervention is performed in the following cases:
- ineffectiveness of conservative treatment;
- open fractures;
- any fractures with damage to blood vessels and nerves at the site of injury.
Sometimes surgery for fractures of the limbs (upper and lower) may be required regardless of the presence of complicating factors. For example, most injuries of the femoral neck or oblique fractures of the tibia with displacement of fragments are treated only operatively.
Rehabilitation after limb fractures
The terms of rehabilitation and its tactics after fractures of the extremities depend on the severity of the injury, the method of treatment of the fracture, and its localization. The timing of the healing of a fracture of the radius of the hand with a displacement usually does not exceed 4 weeks, since the treatment of this type of injury is almost always conservative.A fracture of the femoral neck may generally be incurable due to the peculiarities of the blood supply to the femoral head.
Before removing the cast, a good doctor will take a control X-ray. This is to make sure that the bones are well together. Only then can the specialist say, for example, when it is possible to step on the leg after a fracture of the bones of the lower limb.
After the removal of the immobilizing agents, the stage of final rehabilitation begins.This word means a set of procedures aimed at restoring the functions of the injured limb – motor, support (for legs), grasping (for hands), etc. However, some exercises begin to be done in the first days after the injury. For example, bedridden patients should perform breathing exercises, and those affected by a fracture of the leg bones should work with a healthy limb so as not to lose mobility in it. Even a sore arm and leg should be moved in dosage – this improves blood supply in it, enhances recovery processes and accelerates bone fusion.Rehabilitation after a fracture in a child is especially important – his arms have not yet fully formed, his legs are still growing. The slightest mistake in treatment will lead to permanent disability.
How to develop an arm after a fracture of the wrist bones, how to get rid of contracture in the ankle joint, how to start walking again, stepping on the leg after a hip fracture – all these questions can be answered by a rehabilitation doctor. To return a person to normal life, physiotherapy exercises, massage, physiotherapy are used.For each type of fracture, special sets of exercises have been developed, which can be read about on the website dobrobut.com.
It is exercise therapy and massage that help when the leg swells after a heel bone fracture. These methods help to improve the elasticity of the ligamentous apparatus of the joints, and only thanks to them, the muscles, weaned from the loads during the forced “downtime”, will begin to develop again and perform their functions.
The winter season is a “harvest time” for traumatologists.Trauma is an extremely unpleasant condition that can unsettle any person for a long time, and prevention is the best way to protect yourself from injury. Be prudent, do not go out into the ice without extreme need, look under your feet – and then you do not have to find out how much a fracture of the big toe heals.
Orthopedics and Traumatology
Fracture of a toe: what are the symptoms, first aid and rehabilitation
Toes play an important role in the human motor system.They, along with the foot, are the support for our body. With their help, we can move around without losing balance. Human fingers and toes contain several bones called phalanges. They are connected to each other by movable connecting joints that allow flexion and extension. In addition, these limbs are a potentially vulnerable part of the body.
According to traumatologists, about 3-5% of all injuries are a toe fracture.
Causes of the fracture
Usually a big toe fracture occurs when a person hits something heavy.When an object is struck on a finger, a fracture of the nail phalanx of the big or other toe usually occurs. Also, bones break when falling, an awkward jump from a height, with a bruise and twisting of the foot, from falling heavy things on the leg. The causes of broken fingers can also lie in diseases that provoke extreme fragility of the bones.
It is fairly easy to identify a fractured toe. Usually, the damaged area swells and hurts when touched. A broken big toe looks like this:
Symptoms of a fracture
There are probable and reliable signs of a broken toe.
Probable symptoms of a toe fracture:
- the presence of severe pain in the area of the injured limb,
- redness and edema in the soft tissue at the site of the injury,
- a noticeable increase in body temperature in the area of injury,
- difficulty in movement of the foot and injured phalanx ,
- severe pain when touching the tip of the injured area,
- difficulty in trying to maintain the normal position of the injured limb.
Pain is transferred without loss of consciousness, which often occurs when large bones are damaged. The most intense pain is felt directly during the fracture of the nail and nail phalanx of the big toe. Then the painful sensations subside a little and take on an aching character due to the inflammation caused by the edema. The edema itself looks like this:
A broken toe is very quickly surrounded by a hematoma at the site of injury. When injured, compounds such as serotonin and histamine appear in the blood, initiating severe inflammation in the area of injury.When a big toe fracture occurs, the following symptoms appear: severe swelling appears in the damaged area, redness occurs with an increase in temperature.
A pronounced increase in pain when touching the tip of the injured limb is considered a sure sign of a bruise or fracture. You need to know that the test by touching the injured area is not performed when there is a fear of multiple fractures. The error can cause debris to move and increase the damage.
Significant signs of a toe fracture are:
- unusual mobility of the phalanx in different planes,
- feeling of fragments when palpating,
- visually observed shortening of the injured limb,
- significant change in the size of the injured area.
These signs in 99 cases out of 100 confirm that the finger is broken. However, probing in the area of damage always causes bouts of severe pain and therefore is carried out only by a qualified traumatologist.Now in a medical institution, such a painful examination, as a rule, is replaced by X-ray.
There are two types of fractures:
- Traumatic. It appears with various mechanical lesions of the foot: contusion, blow, twisting.
- Pathological. It is a consequence of certain diseases that affect bone tissue. It manifests itself in the extreme fragility of bones, which is caused by diseases such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, thyroid dysfunction, tuberculosis, and tumor.
The next parameter of the fracture is considered its type and structure:
- Open fracture. It is determined when the skin is damaged, when a fragment of a fractured bone is observed through it.
- Closed fracture. In this case, the surface of the soft tissues of the toe is not disturbed.
- Fracture of the thumb with displacement. It appears with various mechanical damage to the bone tissue, when the traumatic effect caused the displacement of the fractured bones.As a result, nerves, blood vessels or muscles are squeezed into the affected area, which can provoke dangerous consequences.
- Fracture of the ring finger without displacement.
- Complete fracture of the middle finger (when the bone is divided into two or more parts).
- Incomplete fracture (presence of cracks in the bone tissue).
- Comminuted fracture. With multiple destruction of bone tissue with the presence of a large number of fragments in soft tissues.
According to their location, the fractures are divided:
- along the zone of the nail phalanx,
- along the zone of the middle phalanx,
- along the zone of the main phalanx,
- along the zone of two or more phalanges (combined fracture).
First aid for fractures of the phalanges of the toes involves the use of pain relieving agents, primary treatment of wounds (if necessary), suspension of internal hemorrhage and immobility of the injured part of the leg. In this case, you need to perform the following actions:
- If there is a fracture of the phalanx of the finger, then you need to immediately remove the damaging object and position the victim’s body in a comfortable position for him, lifting his leg as high as possible,
- Give an anesthetic: analgin, nimesil, ibuprofen will help , ketonal.For a faster effect, an intramuscular analgesic can be administered.
- In cases of open wounds, rinse them with an antiseptic solution and cover them with a bandage made of sterile bandage,
- Actions to ensure the immobility of the limb (immobilization of the fracture) are performed in case of symptoms of displacement of the fragments. In other cases, you only need to raise your leg higher. For fixation, the objects at hand are used: a pair of pencils, plates or twigs, wrapped in two layers of bandage or cloth, are placed on both sides of the finger and bandaged up to the lower leg.To immobilize the rest of the toes, splints are not required, since the injured toe is attached to the healthy ones,
- ice must be applied to the affected area to reduce pain and hemorrhage. Every 10 minutes the ice is removed for 2-3 minutes in order to prevent excessive cooling (frostbite) of soft tissues,
- to accompany the victim to the hospital, you must first of all call an ambulance or deliver the patient in your vehicle, having previously taken care of precautions for the injured leg.
Treatment depending on the type of fracture
Depending on the type and location of the injury, immediate treatment is carried out. First of all, X-ray is taken. With the help of an X-ray, it is determined what a fracture of the big toe looks like and what treatment is required in each case.
- Damage to the nail phalanx. If the hemorrhage under the nail is too strong, then it is removed. In the presence of small accumulations of blood, they are carefully removed.Then the fragments are fixed with a plaster, connecting the damaged phalanx with the finger.
- Damage to the middle and main phalanges. If there is no displacement, then the phalanges are fixed with a plaster for a period of two to four weeks for proper fusion.
- Displaced toe fracture. In the presence of multiple displacement, a manual operation is performed, during which the fragments of the phalanges are set. After the procedure, a plaster of paris is installed, which is left for 3 weeks.
- Closed displaced thumb fracture and splinter fractures.Closed reposition of bone fragments is performed. This is a responsible and very complex procedure that must be performed as accurately as possible in order to avoid incorrect bone fusion and their subsequent deformation.
- Fracture of several fingers. A plaster cast in the form of a shoe is used.
- Injury of the big toe. If the big toe is broken, then plaster fixation is used from the limbs to the knee. In the presence of intra-articular damage, surgical intervention is required to secure the joint elements with special knitting needles.The plaster remains for 6-8 weeks.
- Open fracture. First of all, the fragments are fixed to restore the bone. After that, antibacterial treatment is carried out. To prevent the development of side infections, a tetanus shot is given. After that, you can correct the displacement and curvature of the bone tissue using a special splint to ensure immobility. It remains on the leg until it is completely spliced.
For six weeks after a toe fracture, you must carefully and carefully treat the injured area, avoiding unnecessary stress.This means avoiding long walking and no physical exercise. When walking, it is better to constantly look under your feet so as not to accidentally hit the damaged area.
If a toe fracture occurs, rehabilitation and recovery takes about two months. Recovery procedures include physical activity, therapeutic massage and strict adherence to the recommendations of the attending physician. The daily menu should include meals high in protein and calcium.
Starting from the third and fourth weeks, to restore the working capacity, the limb is loaded with the simplest exercises. It is necessary to carefully raise the phalanx to the limit until a slight pain is felt. In this position, it is fixed for ten seconds. You need to repeat the procedure three times. After the phalanx smoothly descends. For two weeks, you need to do the exercise three times a day. With the beginning of the fifth and sixth week, the number of approaches must be increased to six times a day.
In the seventh week, you can start doing more serious exercises. In a standing position, you need to rise on your heels, keeping your toes on the floor for ten seconds. At the same time, it is recommended to increase the duration of walking, trying to walk with a wide stride. Walking speeds up the recovery of injured areas.
Patients who have a broken limb due to extreme fragility of the bones require a separate diagnosis, as well as treatment aimed at strengthening the bone tissue.
Do not self-medicate under any circumstances. If for any reason you feel discomfort in the area of injury, immediately contact a traumatologist.
Prevention of fractures
To prevent fracture of toes, the following guidelines must be followed:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes with stable soles.
- Avoid foods that remove valuable calcium from the body. Coffee, soda, and alcohol are bad for your bones.
- Eat plenty of vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beans) and fruits (apricots, grapes, apples), which help to strengthen bone tissue. Also, use specific vitamin and mineral supplements as needed.
- Be careful where there are heavy objects on the floor that can be hit.
By following these tips, you can avoid serious injury.
How to identify a fractured toe: effective methods
The article talks about the signs of a broken toe.Diagnostic methods are described. The toes are formed by small bones. Their damage can be difficult to notice. How to identify a fractured toe – you need to know the characteristic symptoms and radiological signs.
Broken toe is not always easy to identify
Contents of article
Symptoms of trauma
Signs of broken toes are not always obvious. Trauma usually occurs in a domestic environment – when the foot is twisted or a heavy object falls on it.The structural features of the phalanges contribute to the fact that outwardly their damage is practically invisible.
Typical signs of damage are:
- external symptoms.
The first sign of a toe fracture is sudden pain that appears immediately after a blow to the foot. It is moderate in nature, a person can step on the foot, although there is an increase in pain.Pain increases over time, even if the person is taking pain medications.
The next signs of a toe fracture are the appearance of swelling and bruising on the skin. Swelling is a traumatic swelling of soft tissues that occurs due to a bruise. Hematoma is caused by the outflow of blood from damaged vessels.
As a rule, edema and hematoma are localized only on the injured finger (photo). The formation of abrasions, minor bleeding on the surface of the skin is possible.
The main sign of damage is swelling and bruising
These signs of broken toes are characteristic of closed injuries. There are cases when the injury is severe and bone fracture and soft tissue crushing occurs.
How to define a toe fracture in this case? This does not pose any difficulties, since bone fragments are clearly visible in an open wound (see also here how a toe fracture can occur).
The first signs of a toe fracture are rather nonspecific.On their basis, it is impossible to assume an accurate diagnosis, since such symptoms can appear both with injury and with dislocation. To accurately establish the damage to the bone, instrumental diagnostics are required. Instructions for diagnosing injuries include two methods.
This is a standard diagnostic method. How to identify a broken leg in a toe using an X-ray machine? A person takes a picture of the foot in two projections.In this case, the doctor sees a line of damage to the bone tissue in the picture.
The disadvantage of X-ray examination is that it is impossible to indicate the degree of damage to soft tissues, and also to see small fractures, for example, signs of a fracture of the little toe.
The diagnosis is confirmed after examining the snapshot
Tomography is a more accurate research method. It provides a layer-by-layer image of the object under study. The cost of this study is quite high; it is extremely rare for tomography to diagnose finger fractures.
Knowing how to determine a fracture of a toe, you can provide yourself or another person with medical assistance in a timely manner. This will avoid the development of complications.
Questions to the doctor
Hello Doctor. My son is five years old and he always runs and jumps somewhere. He recently hit a tree with his leg. Now she complains of pain in her fingers, but she walks without limping. Can you tell me how to identify a fractured toe and what should I do?
Irina, 23 years old, Voronezh.
Good afternoon, Irina. The bones in children are quite plastic and it is difficult to break them with a kick. Your son may have had a bruised or dislocated toe. In any case, you need to go to the emergency room to take a picture and receive treatment advice.
Good afternoon. I ask for advice. I love doing carpentry and often find myself in traumatic situations. Recently a heavy board fell on my leg. Scratches and bruises are visible on the foot. Stepping on your foot is a little painful.How to identify a broken toe? I think I broke them.
Ivan, 43 years old, Pskov.
Hello Ivan. In your situation, damage to the bones of the foot is quite possible. You describe all the characteristic signs – pain, presence of external damage. Go to the emergency room for an X-ray and treatment.
Good afternoon. I would like to know how to identify a fracture in a toe? I am engaged in tourism and at any time I can get injured.I would like to know how to define it correctly.
Anna, 18 years old, Saratov.
Good afternoon, Anna. In fact, there is a high risk of injury while hiking, especially limbs.