Toe Fractures

Toe fractures

Everything You Need to Know about Toe Fractures

Toe fractures are common orthopedic injuries that can cause a great deal of pain and inconvenience. This article will walk you through the different types of toe fractures and their treatments so that you can make sure you take care of broken toes before they become a bigger problem. 

Causes of Toe Fractures

Broken toes are often the result of accidental injury. If you stub your toe really hard or run into something that puts a lot of pressure on the toe, it can end up breaking. You can also develop a toe fracture from the direct impact of something heavy falling on your toe. These are called traumatic fractures and can displace the toe if the bone ends up in the wrong position.

You can also develop a stress fracture, which is a smaller hairline break often caused by repetitive stress and use. These are most common among athletes and the physically active who regularly stress the bones in their feet and toes.

Two common toe fractures are

  •       Dancer’s fracture: This injury affects the area where the base of the small toe connects to the midfoot. A twisting or rolling of the ankle can lead the neighboring ligament to pull off a small piece of the bone at the base of the small toe. This is also called an avulsion fracture.
  •       Jones fracture: This fracture tends to develop from repetitive stress on the base of the small toe and can be worsened by foot or leg shapes that push weight to the outer side of the foot. This fracture occurs slightly closer to the midfoot than Dancer’s fracture.


Symptoms of Toe Fractures

The following are several key symptoms of toe fractures:

  •       Throbbing pain near the site of impact
  •       Cracking or popping sound at the time of impact
  •       Crooked or displaced toe appearance
  •       Bruising
  •       Swelling
  •       Difficulty putting weight on the injured toe

Unlike sprained toes, broken toes tend to lead to longer lasting pain and may appear dislocated or out of place. An orthopedic doctor will be able to determine whether you have a fractured toe or just a sprain.


Diagnosing Toe Fractures

To diagnose a toe fracture, a doctor will physically examine the bruising and swelling around your injured toe and will ask you about the nature of the pain. An X-ray is then often used to diagnose whether the bone has fractured.

If left untreated, broken toes sometimes develop into osteoarthritis. In that case, chronic pain and inflammation will go on to attack nearby joints. If you suspect you have a toe fracture, you should seek medical attention to avoid a worse condition.


Treating Toe Fractures

Immediately after you injure your toe you should take the following steps to prevent the injury from getting worse:

  •       Stay off your foot and rest
  •       Ice the injured toe to relieve inflammation
  •       Elevate the injured toe above your head

You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage the pain.

To keep your fractured toe stable, a doctor may buddy tape the broken toe to a neighboring toe. In other cases, a traditional splint may be more appropriate to keep the toe stable.

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a fractured toe. A surgeon may insert pins or screws into the toe to help it heal more efficiently. Afterward, you will likely need to wear a walking cast or boot to keep the injured toe stable so that it can heal smoothly.


Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants: Treating Toe Fractures

At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we take your health seriously. A fractured toe can be debilitating, but we’re ready to take care of you so that you can get back on your feet as soon as possible.

If you’re dealing with the pain and frustration of a fractured toe, come in and see us today!


Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.