A broken toe is usually caused by trauma or injury. Performing prolonged repetitive movements causes a type of broken toe called a stress fracture. The affected area of the foot includes the small bones of the toe called phalanges which are susceptible to breakage when exposed to trauma.
A toe can be crushed where the bones are completely shattered or a comminuted fracture occurs in which the bones are misaligned.
Causes of a broken toe
- Stubbed toe or jammed toe
- Dropping heavy objects on the toe where the front area of the foot is prone to damage.
- Prolonged repetitive movement such as sports activities can result to stress or hairline fracture
- People with weak bones or suffering from osteoporosis can develop stress fractures by wearing ill-fitting shoes
- Severe swelling and pain
- Stiffness and bruising due to internal bleeding
- Difficulty walking
- A bent or deformed appearance of the affected area
- Take plenty of rest and avoid performing activities that cause pain.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the broken toe immediately after the injury to prevent internal bleeding and lessen inflammation while the leg is elevated on a chair or pillows. Apply ice on the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes every hour to lessen the severity of the pain and swelling for the first 2-3 days.
- Compress the ice pack against the broken toe using a compression bandage or elastic support to lessen the inflammation. Avoid wrapping the compression bandage too tight to prevent any disruption in the blood circulation.
- Use crutches, a boot or a cane to prevent placing pressure on the affected toe.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin as well as analgesics such as acetaminophen to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- Buddy tape the broken toe next to the uninjured toe for support and help in realigning if the affected toe appears deformed.
- Clean properly the broken toe using alcohol wipes and use a medical tape that is waterproof. Change the tape every few days for at least a few weeks. Put gauze or felt between the toes before buddy taping them to prevent irritation on the skin.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable with adequate room in the toe cap to accommodate the swelling and the taping of the affected area.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on a broken toe is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage joint and bone injuries including a broken toe by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.