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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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. The bones in your toe may just be broken, or they may be out of place or separated.
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 healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your injury. You may need the following tests:
- An x-ray may show your toe fracture.
- A MRI may show a stress fracture or ligament damage. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell a healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
How is a toe fracture treated?
- Buddy tape, elastic bandage, or a splint may be used to support your toe in its correct position. Buddy tape is when your 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 broken toe and limit movement so it can heal.
- Medicine: You 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 you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Antibiotics treat a bacterial infection. You may need antibiotics if you have an open wound.
- A closed reduction is when healthcare providers try to move your bones back into place. You 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 bone in place while it heals.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- Rest your toe so that it can heal. Return to normal activities as directed.
- Apply ice on your 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 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 seek immediate care?
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You have severe pain in your toe.
- Your toe is cold or numb.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- 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.
Care AgreementYou 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.