Broken toe

31 July 2018
Comments: 0
31 July 2018, Comments: 0

A broken toe is an injury where the toe bone is fractured into one or several pieces. If a broken toe is not treated, it can result to issues that can disrupt the ability of the individual to run and walk. If poorly or incorrectly treated, it can also result to persistent discomfort.

What are the indications?

An aching sensation in the toe is the initial sign of a broken toe. The individual might also hear the bone break at the time of injury. In most cases, there is swelling at the site.

The skin close to the injury might appear bruised or briefly changes color. There is also difficulty placing any weight on the toe. Walking or even standing can trigger pain. A severe break can also lead to the dislocation of the toe which causes it to rest in an unnatural angle.

Management of a broken toe

Generally, there is little that the doctor can do for a broken toe. It is mostly up to the individual to rest the toe and keep it stable.

Even before the individual know whether the toe is injured or not, an ice pack must be applied and keep it in a raised position. Over-the-counter pain medications can also be given. If surgery was performed to fix the toe, the doctor might prescribe stronger pain medications.


Buddy taping is typically performed for a broken toe. The affected toe is carefully secured to the toe next to it using medical tape. In most cases, a gauze pad is positioned between the toes to prevent irritating the skin.

Surgery and further treatment

Sore severe breaks, it requires further treatment. If there are bony fragments in the toe that requires healing, taping is not enough. A walking cast should be worn to keep the injured toe stable while providing enough support to lessen the pain that arises while walking.

For serious cases, surgery is required to reset the bone. Pins or screws are placed into the bone to allow correct healing. In most cases, they are left in the toe permanently.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a broken toe is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.

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