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.