A broken toe (toe fracture) is a relatively common type of injury that can limit activity and cause quite a bit of discomfort. There are 26 bones in the foot, with 14 of these residing in the toes. These small bones are called phalanges. The first digit has 2 phalanges while the other toes have 3. Fractures of the big toe are less common but generally more debilitating as this toe plays an important role in balance, weight bearing and walking.
Most toe fractures occur when you accidentally kick or drop something on the foot. The toe may be bruised, swollen and difficult to move/bend. Uncomplicated injuries of the lesser toes (2nd-5th digits) are managed with rest, ice, elevation and by taping it to the neighboring toe (buddy taping). These usually heal well and may not even require an x-ray. More complicated fractures, such as those involving the big toe, displaced, or open fractures, need immediate evaluation and treatment.
Its not uncommon for the nail to also be affected during a toe injury. Blood can accumulate underneath the toenail causing discoloration and exquisite pain. This is called a subungual hematoma and may need to be drained to relieve the pressure.
However, if you have suffered a toe/toenail injury and unsure of what to do, do not risk home treatment and have your toe heal incorrectly or cause further damage, visit one of our offices today.