How To Tell If You Have A Fractured Toe

How To Tell If You Have A Fractured Toe

Do you think you have a fractured toe?

A fractured toe is often one of the more ‘undetected’ conditions a podiatrist has to deal with. Many people who fracture their toes tend to ignore the problem, or take the ‘wait and see’ approach and hope the issue goes away. Of the 206 bones in your body, over one quarter of those are located in your feet. Of which, half are located in your toes. Considering your feet are the only part of the body that comes into contact with the ground, it’s no wonder foot/ toe fractures are so common! A fracture that goes untreated my lead to a wide range of problems. The easiest thing you can do if you suspect a broken or fractured toe is to visit your local podiatrist today! That way the toe can be accurately diagnosed and treated without potential repercussions.

How to know if your toe is fractured

When it comes to fractured toes, there is a number of factors that distinguish it from a regular bruise/ painful ache. It’s not uncommon to think you may have broken a bone after stubbing your toe and feeling a snap, so here is a guide to have a more accurate diagnosis:
  • Pain: It will often be tender immediately, and can be feel like a dull ache even at rest.
  • Bruising and discolouraton: normally black or purple. This can take a few hours to a few days to develop Swelling. Similar to bruising, may take time to develop
  • Pain when standing, exercising or wearing tight shoes
  • Pain when wearing shoes.

Risks of a fractured toe

While adverse effects from a fractured toe are rare, they certainly can happen if not appropriately managed. A common toe fracture complication we see at our clinic is an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis generally develops due to wear & tear overtime, but a fracture can create enough of a stress response to increase the speed of this process. Osteoarthritis may then lead to increased pain and stiffness, loss of function and even deformity! Even more reason to get your toe checked out ASAP.

Treatment for fractured toes

If you suspect a fractured toe, the first thing you should do is book an appointment with a podiatrist. It’s a condition that can have serious side effects if not appropriately managed, so get on top of it as soon as you can. Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the injury, examples include:
  • Taping and splinting to immobilise the toe. Minor cases often don’t require casting.
  • Immobilisation with a cast or boot in severe cases
  • Specialised footwear in chronic cases
  • Physical therapy to retrain the soft tissue surrounding the bone
Surgery is very rarely required for broken toes, but our team has a large network with local surgeons if a second opinion was ever needed. If you have recently dropped something or kicked your toe and are unsure if it is fractured, call The Movement Centre today. Our podiatrists are experts of all conditions of the foot and lower leg, and would be happy to get you back on your feet pain free.
Disclaimer: The Movement Centre provides this information as an educational service. The information contained on this website and in this blog is not intended to serve as or replace actual medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance should consult their local Randwick Physio, general practitioner, medical specialist, or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.