Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Broken, sprained and dislocated toes
Do you need to treat a broken toe? Have you ever injured your toe and been told not to worry because there is nothing to do with a broken toe? If so, you have been misguided. All toe fractures can and should be treated. A broken toe that is not treated can cause long-term pain and swelling. If the fracture is near a joint, it can cause arthritis, so it is very important to have a toe assessed after a fracture. Make an appointment to come and see us as soon as possible after any toe injury. Tell our receptionist that you think you have a broken toe and she will see you as soon as possible, often the same day.
What we will do for you
First, we will take an x-ray to assess the severity of the injury. If you have a fracture, we will make sure that the toe is placed correctly to heal properly. We can then immobilize it using a special boot or shoe to allow the toe to heal properly and allow you to move around without pain. You may need to wear a special splint to keep the toe straight. Occasionally, if the fracture is not properly aligned, we will have to gently manipulate the bone to put it back in place (we will always numb your toe before manipulating it to avoid pain). On very rare occasions, the fracture is severe enough to require surgery to avoid long-term problems such as arthritis. Our goal is to treat your injury in the most effective, safe and painless way possible.
What you need to do: Broken Toe
Apply ice to your foot immediately after you injure yourself for 10 minutes, then stop for 10 minutes and start again. You should avoid putting weight on your foot until your injury is assessed. Avoid walking on it as much as possible. If you must move around, use crutches. If you cannot use crutches, use a cane and walk with the weight on your heel. Let us assess your toe as soon as possible. If you go to the emergency room and the x-rays show that you have a fracture, do not follow the advice to tape your toes together; go to a Podiatrist for a second opinion. This may seem like a lot for a single broken toe, but every week we see patients who have suffered for months, sometimes even years because of a broken toe that has not been well cared for. If you think you might have a broken toe, call us to make an appointment.
Treatment of broken toes at home
We do not recommend home treatment for a broken or sprained toe. An x-ray is necessary to ensure that the bones are properly aligned. If it is absolutely impossible for you to see a doctor quickly and you think you have a broken toe, you must immobilize the toe. The only effective way to immobilize it is to use a boot. You will need a high boot, as shown, not a good short one; the high boot immobilizes the muscles that start in your leg and work their way down to your toe. Even if you buy a boot, see a Podiatrist as soon as possible.
If you have to wear a boot and you want to avoid back pain, make sure you wear a shoe in the other foot that is at the same level as the boot. We recommend using “Even-up”, a device that attaches to your shoe to keep it level with the boot. If you choose not to use it, use a foot lifter to make sure you are level on both sides.
Dislocation is another possible injury when you bump your toe. In this case, the bone is not necessarily broken, but it moves through the joint. You can see that the toe protrudes abnormally sideways or upwards.
A dislocation of the toe should be treated by a professional. If you think you have a dislocated toe, make an appointment at our foot clinic immediately.
We will first take x-rays. If the toe is dislocated, in most cases we will numb your toe to prevent pain and then gently reinsert the toe. If the dislocation is severe, surgery may be necessary.
When a toe is dislocated, the ligaments that hold the bone in place in the joint are torn. To allow these ligaments to heal, you must wear a boot for several weeks.2021