You've probably stubbed your toe on occasion and the pain was so intense that you thought the toe was broken. In most cases, the pain goes away fairly quickly, and the incident is forgotten. When the pain lingers or gets worse when you wiggle your toe, it might be cause for concern. Other signs your toe might be broken include swelling or your toe bending at an odd angle. If you think your toe is broken or if it hurts and you're not sure how badly it's injured, then it's best to see a podiatrist for an examination and treatment. Here are some ways to treat a broken toe.
Use Ice For Pain And Swelling
Apply an ice pack right after the injury if possible. This helps stop bleeding so bruising is minimized. It also reduces swelling, which can help with pain relief. You should place a cloth on your toe to protect it from the cold temperatures of the ice. Your podiatrist may have you apply the ice pack several times a day for a few days after your injury to help it heal.
Tape The Toe In Place
You'll want the toe to heal properly to reduce the risk of developing arthritis in it later. When you visit the podiatrist, he or she may tape your toe to the toe next to it. This holds your broken toe stable while the bones heal. Your podiatrist can teach you how to apply the tape at home so you can keep it taped as long as necessary. It might take several weeks for your toe to heal fully.
Stay Off Your Foot
You'll need to avoid putting weight on your foot for a few days. If you can't rest at home due to school or work, your podiatrist may fit you with a walking boot, crutches, or even a knee walker so you can stay mobile while your toe heals. Once you're able to wear shoes again, you'll want to wear shoes that have stiff toe areas so your broken toe is protected. You don't want to stub your toe again and cause further damage. If you have steel-toed shoes with wide toes, those would be a good choice. Your podiatrist can advise you on the right shoes to wear, as well as on any inserts that might be necessary so you can walk comfortably and keep your toe safe.
Broken toes are fairly common foot injuries. They usually heal on their own by splinting the toe and keeping pressure off of it. Sometimes a break on a big toe is bad enough that it has to be repaired surgically. Your podiatrist may order an x-ray of your toe to determine how badly it's broken and where it's broken when deciding on the best way to help your toe heal. Contact a podiatry office like Cortez Foot & Ankle Specialists to learn more.