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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.

Foot Anatomy

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
  • Bruising
  • Inability to bend or move the toe
  • Inability to walk or put weight on the toe
  • Toe is bent at an abnormal angle

How is a toe fracture diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child and ask about the injury. Your child may also need an x-ray.

How is a toe fracture treated?

  • Buddy tape, an elastic bandage, or a splint may be used to support your child's toe in its correct position. Buddy tape is when the fractured toe and the toe next to it are taped together.
  • Support devices including a cane, crutches, walking boot, or hard soled shoe may be needed. These help protect your child's broken toe and limit movement so it can heal.
    Walking Boot
  • Medicine: Your child may need any of the following:
    • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
    • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
    • Antibiotics may be needed if your child has an open wound. Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
  • A closed reduction is when healthcare providers try to move your child's bones back into place. Your child may be given numbing medicine before a closed reduction.
  • Surgery may be needed if the bone is out of place or the toe joint is damaged. Surgery may include the use of wires, pins, or other hardware to keep your child's bone in place while it heals.

How can I help manage my child's symptoms?

  • Help your child rest so the toe can heal. Return to normal activities as directed.
  • Apply ice on your child's toe for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Elevate your child's toe above the level of the heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your child's toe on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
    Elevate Limb (Child)

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Blood soaks through your child's bandage.
  • Your child has severe pain in his or her toe.
  • Your child's toe is cold or numb.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • 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.

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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