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Toe Fracture


What is a toe fracture?

A toe fracture is a break in 1 or more of the bones in your toe. It is most commonly caused by a direct blow to the toe.

What are the signs and symptoms of a toe fracture?

  • Pain, redness, and swelling
  • Inability to bend or move your toe
  • Inability to walk or put weight on your toe
  • Toe is bent at an abnormal angle

How is a toe fracture diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine you and ask about your injury. You may need an x-ray.

How is a toe fracture treated?

  • Buddy tape: Your caregiver will put a small piece of gauze between the fractured toe and the toe next to it. Then he will tape your toes together. This helps support your broken toe and limit movement so it can heal.
  • Special shoe: You may need a special shoe or walking cast. This will protect your broken toe and limit movement so it can heal. The shoe may also make it easier for you to walk.
  • Medicine:
    • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. You can buy NSAIDs without a doctor's order. Ask your caregiver which medicine is right for you, and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
    • Antibiotics: You may need antibiotics if you have an open wound. This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection.
    • Td vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria. 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 bones back into their correct position without surgery.
  • Open reduction: This is done when a closed reduction does not work or you have 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 toe can heal correctly.

What are the risks of a toe fracture?

You could get an infection or bleed more than expected after surgery. Even after treatment, your toe may not go back to the way it was before your injury. Without treatment, you may have trouble walking or playing sports.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Rest: Rest your 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 toe for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Elevate: Raise your toe above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your toe on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain does not go away, even after treatment.
  • Your toe continues to hurt even after it has healed.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have severe pain in your toe.
  • Your toe is cold or numb.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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