How to Treat Toe Fractures


Although your toes absorb a huge amount of pressure from just everyday walking, they are still rather fragile and susceptible to fracture in a variety of ways. Repetitive stress from sports and exercise can cause a hairline fracture in a toe. You can drop a phone or computer on your toe or stub your toe into a curb while crossing the street. A minor break can be treated by the RICE protocol and buddy taping, but a more severe break will require surgery.

Toe fractures can be minor or quite severe. The symptoms of a minor toe fracture will often include the following:

  • Minor pain and swelling

  • Bruised skin and toenail

  • Difficulty in moving the toe

You can prevent the broken toe from moving by simply taping it to an adjoining toe. This immobilization of the toe, along with rest, icing, and elevation, will prevent any further injury and allow proper healing to occur.

Symptoms of a more traumatic toe fracture include the following:

  • A severely broken toe will appear bent or disfigured

  • Severe pain, swelling, and numbness will be evident

  • Bleeding may occur

  • If you have a fever or chills, then the injury may be more severe

If you experience the above symptoms, immediate medical attention will be needed and surgery may be required. Expect the recovery period to be a minimum of two or more months.

To prevent any future complications from developing after breaking your toe, seek treatment with your foot doctor. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, Gregory Cook, DPM, and Huy L. Nguyen, DPM provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.