ZocdocAnswersHave I broken my toe?

Question

Have I broken my toe?

The other day I hit my foot against a set of weights and heard a loud cracking noise. There is pain in the area where my little toe connects to my foot. When it was first hit, my toe swelled to nearly twice its size. The next day the swelling went down, but the area on my foot below my little toe is bruised. It has now been bruised and sore for 2 days.

Answer

I'm sorry to hear about your toe injury. As always, you should always follow-up with your orthopaedic surgeon for formal evaluation and definitive treatment. Without being able to physically examine you or obtain x-rays, it is impossible for me to say definitively that you have a broken (fractured) toe. That said, it is quite possible that you have a broken toe. Toe fractures are often subtle from the standpoint of obvious deformity, since toes tend to be shorter and bunched together, making obvious deformity difficult to discern. Broken toes tend to manifest with essentially your description: localized pain, swelling and bruising. The only way to truly know is to see an orthopaedic surgeon, and obtain an x-ray. In most cases, toe fractures are often treated non-operatively. This entails time, rest, ice, elevation, and the use of a hard soled shoe (post-op shoe versus pneumatic walking boot versus cast). Depending on where and how severe your break is, surgery can certainly be an option, but again, most toe fractures heal on their own over a period of six to eight weeks. Again, please follow-up with your orthopaedic surgeon for definitive evaluation, treatment and close follow-up.

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