When you whack your toe on a piece of furniture or during a fall, it can be incredibly painful. Even though toe fractures are rarely serious, they certainly feel serious. Getting the right care is important for feeling better sooner. It can also help you heal without long-term complications.
Treating Toe Fractures at UVA Health
Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your toe, such as immobility or misalignment. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:
Diagnosing a Broken Toe
First, your doctor will examine the toe. If the break is obvious, they may proceed with treatment, but most of the time they’ll request imaging. X-rays make sure they understand the extent of the injury. It also helps them evaluate what the best next step is.
The symptoms of a broken toe are usually pretty apparent:
- Obvious deformity
For most breaks, all that’s needed is protection and support while your toe heals. This might include taping your toe to an unbroken toe. Or you may need a walking cast.
It’s important for your toe to heal in line. But if the trauma of the break has already caused it to be out of position, then your doctor will realign it.
This can be done surgically or non-surgically, depending on the extent of the injury. If pins are needed to keep the toe in position, you’ll need surgery.
Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend over-the-counter medications. These not only help with pain, but can also help reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two of the most recommended medications.
Rest & Recovery
Usually, broken toes will heal in 6-8 weeks. But this can be a little shorter or a little longer depending on your overall health and the extent of the break.
Keeping your foot elevated and icing periodically can help with pain. Usually, you’ll be able to move around though.
For sports or other strenuous activities, you’ll need to wait till your doctor tells you it’s okay to return.