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Broken toes can be painful and usually occur as a result of severe impact. We look at the symptoms and treatment for a broken toe.
Most broken toes are traumatic injuries caused by stubbing the toe or having it stamped or trodden on. A stress fracture can also occur gradually over time. Symptoms of a traumatic toe fracture include:
The toes are made up of 14 bones called phalanges, 3 in each of the small toes and 2 bones in the big toe (hallux). Fractured phalanges are different from a fractured metatarsal, which is actually in the foot, rather than the toes.
Fractures to the phalanges usually occur as a result of a direct trauma, such as something being dropped on the foot, or even stumping your toe! The Hallux (or big toe) can suffer a stress fracture, which is common in adolescent athletes.
The most common toe fractures include a broken big toe and broken little toe or broken pinky toe as it is also known. This is because these two toes are more exposed and more likely to come into contact with hard objects. The other toes are protected more by the other toes beside it.
Treatment of a broken toe will often mean rest to start with. Take the weight off the foot, elevate it and apply cold therapy as soon as possible. Applying ice to the toe will help relief the pain and prevent swelling which will delay the healing process.
Fractures in the Hallux otherwise known as the big toe or great toe, or more complex fractures may require the patient to wear a walking boot to protect the foot and reduce weight bearing for 2-4 weeks. Alternatively the Doctor may buddy strap the toe - meaning it is taped to the toe next to it to help immobilize it.