Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long should I keep ice on my broken toe?"
Accidentally kicked a rock really hard and I'm pretty sure my big toe is broken. How long should I keep ice on it? I've been icing it for two days now. I just don't want something serious to happen to it while its healing.
It is best to seek medical evaluation soon after the injury to ensure proper treatment and healing. A doctor will examine it and check for other injuries. An X-ray may be ordered to evaluate if the toe is broken or fractured. I would also recommend an evaluation if there is a possible open fracture which includes (sores, redness, open wounds, drainage near the broken toe; (2) numb, tingling, or unusual sensation in the toes; (3) blue or gray colored skin near the injury. Depending on its severity, a broken toe can be treated by applying ice to the injury for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours for the first 1-2 days and keeping your foot elevated as much as possible to decrease swelling and pain. Of course, prompt medical treatment is necessary if your broken toe pain worsens or new pain is not relieved by pain medication. If there is an open wound near the injured toe, a tetanus shot and antibiotic medication may also be necessary. Simple toe fractures usually heal well. However, a severe fracture is at risk for developing infection, arthritis and possibly even a deformity. I recommend that you schedule an appointment with a primary care physician to have your broken toe looked at to make sure it is healing properly to prevent unforeseen complications.
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