Toe Fractures: Overview
A toe fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma can result from:
dropping something on your toe
stubbing your toe
direct blow to the toe
Risk factors that increase your chances of fracturing your toe include:
decreased muscle mass
participating in contact sports
not wearing shoes
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the
injury occurred. Your doctor will examine the injured area and may take
an x-ray of the foot, but this is not always necessary. pain
swelling and tenderness
stiffness in the injured area
bruising in the injured area
numbness or tingling in the toes
visible deformity in the toe area
difficulty walking (sometimes)
Symptoms of a toe fracture include:
Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Treatment involves
putting the pieces of the bone together, which may require anaesthesia and/or
surgery, or keeping the pieces together while the bone heals itself.
realigning the bones
In many toe fractures, the bone is broken but the two pieces are in proper
position. If the bones are out of position, the doctor will put the bones
back into place. This is usually done without surgery. However, if your
fracture is severe, you may need pins or screws to hold the bones in place.
Each of these will require surgery. Once the bones are realigned, they need
to be held in place while healing. The fractured toe may be taped to the
toe next to it, or you may need a walking cast with a toe plate.
Take one of the following drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain:
ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
Do not participate in sports or activities until your toe is fully healed.
Apply ice or a cold pack to your toe for 15-20 minutes, four times a day
for several days. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Wrap the ice or cold
pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
Keep the injured foot raised above the level of your heart for 48 hours
(such as up on a pillow). This will help drain fluid and reduce swelling.
How can I prevent a toe fracture?
To help prevent a toe fracture:
Always wear well-fitted, supportive athletic shoes when doing physical
Wear shoes to protect your feet.
Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Do weight-bearing exercises to build strong bones.
Build strong muscles to prevent falls.
Improving Sports Performance
The key to improving sports performance after a toe fracture is proper a
rehabilitation program, and adhering to some of those same principles after
the injury is gone.
Also remember that the single most important aspect of improving performance
is stretching before and after you step onto the field, court, ice, or golf
Benefits derived from stretching include: increased physical efficiency and performance
decreased risk of injury
increased blood supply and nutrients to joint structures
improved muscular balance and postural awareness