When to Seek Medical Care
The injured toe should be looked at every day. Call a doctor if any of the following occur:
- Worsening or new pain not relieved by pain medication and the measures described in the treatment section
- Sores, redness, or open wounds near the injured toe
- A cast or splint is damaged or broken
Go to a hospital’s emergency department if the following signs or symptoms are present:
- Cold, numb, or tingling toes
- Blue or gray colored skin
- Open wounds, bleeding, or drainage from near the broken toe
Exams and Tests
A doctor will ask some questions to determine how the toe was injured. Then the doctor will examine the injured toe and should also make sure there are no other injuries.
It is best to seek medical evaluation soon after the injury to ensure proper treatment and healing.
- A doctor may take an x-ray film to see if a toe is broken or fractured.
- X-ray films are not always necessary to make the diagnosis of a broken toe, especially if the break is in one of the smaller toes.
Broken Toe Treatment Self-Care at Home
These are things that can be done at home to help decrease the pain and swelling and to help the fracture heal properly.
- Swelling that occurs after the injury worsens pain.
- To decrease the swelling (and the pain), keep the foot raised above the level of the heart as much as possible.
- Prop the foot up on some pillows, especially when sleeping. Reclining in a lounge chair is also helpful.
- Put ice in a plastic bag and apply it to the injury for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours for the first 1-2 days.
- Make sure to place a towel between the skin and the bag of ice to protect the skin.
- Avoid any strenuous exercise, prolonged standing, or walking.
- Crutches may be needed, or a special shoe to wear when walking to avoid putting weight on the fracture while it heals.
Depending on the location and severity of the toe fracture, the fracture may need to be reduced (put back into place) and splinted or casted. If there is an open wound near the injured toe, a tetanus shot and antibiotic medication may also be necessary.