Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you do anything for a broken toe?"
I stubbed my pinky toe on a chair and I think its broken. It is swollen and black and blue, along with my other toes. If its broken, is there anything a doctor can do or should I just wait it out?
Even when you have no fractures to heal, your skeleton is in a very dynamic process of modifying itself in response to changes in the force and stress exerted on it. All broken bones need time to heal, typically about 6 weeks. In order for it to heal properly, it is important to immobilize your toe for this time period with a splint or a cast in order to prevent further injuries. Bones heal by cells laying a foundation with building blocks like a miniature puzzle. It can only do so if the broken pieces are not constantly changing positions. This is why it is so important for a splint. Once it is done, you just have to 'wait it out'. Of course, we do not know if you have a fracture or not. Therefore, you should get a 2-3 views of X-ray of your foot in order to see which bone(s) is affected, and whether or not it involves a joint. This seems to be triggered by an accident, but if you are a post-menopausal woman or an older man, you should follow up with a doctor to see if you have have osteopenia or osteoporosis. Lastly, in order for your body to heal well, it needs to be properly nourished. If you have any chronic medical conditions or taking immune suppressive medications, these factors can also slow your healing process. I suggest a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon soon.
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