Toe Fracture In Children

What is a toe fracture?

A toe fracture is a break in 1 or more of the bones in your child's toe.

What causes a toe fracture?

A toe fracture is most commonly caused by a direct blow to the toe. This can happen during sports activity or if your child stubs his toe. Fractures in children younger than 1 year of age are uncommon because their bones are flexible. Fractures in these children may be caused by problems with how a bone was formed, tumors, or physical abuse.

What are the signs and symptoms of a toe fracture?

  • Pain, redness, and swelling

  • Inability to bend or move his toe

  • Inability to walk or put weight on his toe

  • Toe is bent at an abnormal angle

How is a toe fracture diagnosed?

Your child's caregiver will examine him and ask about his injury. Your child may also need an x-ray.

How is a toe fracture treated?

  • Buddy tape: Your child's caregiver will put a small piece of gauze between the fractured toe and the toe next to it. Then he will tape the toes together. This helps support the broken toe and limit movement so it can heal.

  • Special shoe: Your child may need a special shoe or walking cast. This will protect his broken toe and limit movement so it can heal. This shoe may also make it easier for him to walk.

  • Medicine:

    • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.

    • Antibiotics: Your child may need antibiotics if he has an open wound. This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

    • Td vaccine: This vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent diphtheria and tetanus. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.

  • Closed reduction: This is when caregivers put your child's bones back into their correct position without surgery.

  • Open reduction: This is done when a closed reduction does not work or your child has ligament damage. An incision is made and the bones and ligaments are put back into the correct position. Open reduction may include the use of wires, pins, plates, or screws. These help keep the broken pieces lined up so your child's toe can heal correctly.

What are the risks of a toe fracture?

Your child could get an infection or bleed more than expected after surgery. The fracture can affect how your child's toe grows. Even after treatment, your child's toe may not go back to the way it was before your injury. Without treatment, he may have trouble walking or playing sports.

How can I help manage my child's symptoms?

  • Rest: Help your child rest his toe so that it can heal. Return to normal activities as directed.

  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your child's toe for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.

  • Elevate: Raise your child's toe above the level of his heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop his toe on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

When should I contact my child's caregiver?

Contact your child's caregiver if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child's pain does not go away, even after treatment.

  • Your child's toe continues to hurt even after it has healed.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your child's bandage.

  • Your child has severe pain in his toe.

  • Your child's toe is cold or numb.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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