Each of our toe is made up of many smaller bones. Single or multiple of these bones can break (or get fractured) from an impact injury to you foot or toes. In most cases it’s a big toe fracture as it’s corner fingers that take most impact (also because it’s bigger and longer). Likewise little toe fracture happens in case of side impact. Middle toe fracture is also very common.
Causes of Fractured Toe
Fractured toe is normally a result of trauma to our foot or toe in an accident. Injuries like stubbing toe or accidently dropping some heavy thing on your toe are most common causes of a toe fracture.
Stress toe fracture
A broken toe can also be a result of prolonged and repetitive pressure, stress or movements of toe. This is called a stress fracture.
Broken Toe Symptoms
After the toe injury, sufferer feels immediate pain followed by swelling or stiffness. Skin Bruising might also be noticed. The toe doesn’t looks normal, as it may look bent and out of shape. If the fractured bone is out of place. It is very difficult to walk with a toe fracture because of pain. Wearing shoes becomes a painful exercise.
Toe bone complications
Without proper toe treatment and negligence, some complications can arise. Such Complications can occur almost immediately after an injury, or can happen even after years.
Immediate toe complications
- Nail injury: A blood clot might develop inside the toenail (medically known as subungual hematoma condition). If this blood collection is large, it might have to be drained by the doctor by making a small hole in toenail to drain this unwanted blood collection out. However, if the hematoma is more , the entire toenail may even required to be removed.
- Open toe fracture: Sometimes, the fractured bone may come out through the skin because of the severe impact. This is known as open or compound toe fracture. In such case, careful cleansing of the wound and antibiotic medication is required to prevent bone from becoming infected. In extreme cases, surgery may also be advised by the doctor.
- Delayed complications: Even after the fractured toe has healed, patient may later face problems such as arthritis, stiffness, or pain. In many cases, the fractured bones don’t heal completely (this is known as nonunion), or they heal in an incorrect position (this is called a malunion).
A doctor will take an x-ray to check if your toe is really cracked or broken.
Please be aware that if you have a broken toe, than it should be looked after with great care every day. Seek an immediate doctor’s advice if any of the following occur:
- Sores, redness, or open wounds near injured area
- Cold, numb, or tingling toes is also a symptom of toe fracture
- If you see, Blue or gray colored skin around your toe after an accident, it can be a broken toe
Go to your doctor prepared. You doctor might ask you questions to understand the extent of fracture by knowing how the toe was hit. Don’t forget to mention other injuries you may have suffered with your toe injury.
It is best to seek rehabilitation soon after you recover from this kind of fracture to keep away chances of any future problems like arthritis.
Once you that it’s a toe fracture, you must take following precautions if you want to recover faster and avoid any future complications:
- Stay away from the any physical activity that puts pressure on the fractured bone. Don’t take any chances until you’re sure that it’s a 100% recovery.
- If you love the activity that caused this fracture, you can suffice that activity with another activity that doesn’t pressure the injured area (like swimming). Take a rich diet and you will be able to return to your favourite sport very soon.
- Consult a specialist. Your coach is the best person who will help you understand what you did wrong that causes the injury. This is very important if you want to avoid recurrence.
If you suspect a toe fracture, see your doctor immediately. Until you see him or he comes to see you, avoid putting any pressure on your toe. Apply ice will help in reducing swelling. For this, use an ice pack (avoid direct contact of injury with ice; simply wrap ice in a clean towel and apply to the fractured area). Don’t apply ice for more than 20 minutes. If there is too much pain or swelling, you can take an analgesic (like aspirin or ibuprofen). Avoid wearing shoe and if required, wear a bigger comfortable shoe.