Helping a Broken Toe to Heal Well
A broken toe can take many forms. For example, one beautiful day you are feeling great and decide to add a couple of miles to your run, but the next day your toe really hurts when you walk on it. You could have developed a stress fracture. Maybe you finally choose to get rid of that old window air conditioner, and as you lift it, you lose your grip and it lands on your foot. If your toe swells up and is too painful to bear any weight, you may have broken it.
Signs Your Toe Is Broken
Pain is usually the first indicator, with other symptoms including swelling, bruising, stiffness, and difficulty walking. If the toe looks okay and the symptoms go away after a day or two, it may be just a sprain. If the pain and swelling continues or gets worse, it’s time to get it checked at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates.
You need to come in immediately if the bone has broken through the skin, if the toe looks out of position, or if it is numb, tingly, and has a bluish or greyish tone. These are evidence of more serious problems that will not heal without proper medical attention. Also seek help if you have an open wound on your toe, if you’re nail bed is damaged, or if any redness or red streaks start to appear, which could be signs of an infection. When the nail bed is damaged, blood can pool under your nail, causing pain. This is called a subungual hematoma. We can safely drain the issue in our office.
How We Diagnose a Broken Toe
When you come in, we will ask when your toe first started bothering you and also figure out what activities you were doing at the time. We will do a physical examination of the toe to determine what caused the pain and also test its range of motion. X-rays or MRIs may also be needed to find out the location and extent of the break. We can check for any other injuries that may have occurred at the same time. Once we have a clear diagnosis, we can find the best way to treat it.
Home Care Remedies Can Help with the Pain
Resting the toe and foot is a good first step. If you keep using it, the toe will take longer to heal. Try icing the area for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day. Elevate it when you sit or lie down. This helps keep the swelling down, which relieves the pressure that causes pain. We will advise you on the best pain reliever to use and provide something stronger if the pain is severe. We can also prescribe any antibiotics needed to fight off infection in an open fracture or wound.
Sometimes, we may use a splint or cast to stabilize the toe or show you how to buddy tape it to the next toe to keep it straight. It is important to keep the toe bones lined up properly as they heal. If not, they may meld back together in misaligned position. This could cause further problems with stiffness, limited movement, or arthritis developing in the future.
The Good News: Broken Toes Usually Heal Fine
It may take six weeks, but if you follow our instructions about caring for the toe and weight-bearing, your toe will likely heal with no problems. If you need surgery to correct a badly broken toe, the recovery may be a bit longer.
If you think you have broken your toe, we are here to help you heal quickly and well. Our expert podiatrists Dr. Hal Abrahamson and Dr. Daniel E. Orozco combine over 40 years of foot care know-how and we use the latest treatment methods to conservatively address all your foot conditions.
If you do need surgery, Aadvanced Foot Care Associates is the place to come. Call our Rego Park office at (718) 896-4433, our Flushing location at (718) 969-2266, or our office in Plainview at (516) 822-9595.