Some Facts & Myths About Broken Toes


Many people have misconceptions when it comes to what one should do about a broken toe. Here are two persistent myths and two actual facts regarding broken toes.

Two misconceptions about broken toes include the following:

  1. There’s not much you can do about a broken toe—This farcical advice is thrown about quite often, but there really isn’t any truth to the pronouncement. The earlier you treat a broken toe the better, and the less likely that additional problems will occur. Rest, ice, and elevation are definitely in order when you first suspect a serious toe injury. Ibuprofen or other over the counter pain relievers will decrease inflammation. If pain, swelling, and discomfort persist for more than several days, you should have the injury properly evaluated by your foot doctor to get on the right treatment path.
  2. If you can walk on it, then it must not be broken—A break to your toe can be subtle and caused by a hairline fracture that may not cause persistent pain, but walking around on a broken toe will just make the situation worse. If your toe has just suffered an impact with a heavy object or if you just kicked an unmovable object such as a sidewalk curb, be sure to carefully monitor the situation and if you notice swelling, bruising and severe pain, or if your toe is bent out of shape, then you may have broken your toe.

Two facts about broken toes include:

  1. A broken toe can lead to more problems if not properly treated—Proper treatment is essential since an untreated broken toe can increase the chances of chronic pain and arthritis. If your toe is bent, it may heal in the bent position requiring surgery to correct.
  2. Broken toes can be treated in a number of ways—See your foot specialist to determine which treatment is best for you. Some of the treatments available include the following:
  • Splinting—This will help to immobilize and cushion the toe.
  • Wearing a rigid boot—A stiff boot will immobilize the foot and protect the injured toe from further injury.
  • Taping to the next toe—Taping the broken toe to the toe next to it will help eliminate any movement and increase the rate of healing.
  • Surgical repair—If you have experienced a dislocation or other severe injury to the toe joint, your podiatrist may decide that surgery is required.

If you are suffering with a toe injury and suspect that it may be broken, see your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuries, pediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.