ZocdocAnswersHow do you know if your toe is broken?

Question

How do you know if your toe is broken?

I am a 28 year old female. 5 days ago I tripped over a pair of boots and my pinky toe on my left foot got the weight of my body. It is purple now, it was dark in color instantly after the fall. It hurt really bad and looks like it is turned, but it could be just swollen. Yes there is some swelling and I have put ice on it. Should I go to the hospital and have this checked? Or is there something I can do at home?

Answer

I am very sorry to hear that you injured your toe and that you are having significant pain! It is certainly possible to break a bone in your toe with the type of injury you describe. Because the bones in the toe are very small, there are usually no obvious ways to tell if the bone is broken. The best thing to do would be to see your primary care doctor. They will examine the foot and they may decide that you need an X ray to look for a broken bone. If you have broken a bone in the foot, most of the time this does not require specific treatment, other than some support and protection for the foot to keep the pain down so that you can walk. Your doctor may also splint the affected toe. Generally, these injuries do heal on their own over a period of a few weeks. If you do not have a broken bone, it is still possible to have this swelling and color change just from the inflammation of stubbing your toe. Treatment involves rest, ice, and anti inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naprosyn. Talk to your primary care doctor as soon as possible.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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