What Should I Do for a Broken Toe?

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Who knew so many people fracture their toes, but I get this question a few times a month.

A toe fracture can be either partial or complete. Fractures of the toe bones may or may not include the joints that separate the bones. Most of the time you can deal with toe fractures at home, as doctors are not of much help. Most toe fractures are from a direct hit (trauma) to the toe or an indirect trauma like forcefully pivoting on a planted foot.

Here’s what to expect, so there are no surprises:

What should you do?

Seek care if . . .

The fracture is severely displaced or if the bone pushes through the skin (I’m hoping bone poking through skin drives folks to their doctor). If you have pain, numbness or coldness in the affected foot that could mean damage to the blood vessels, and signs of infection like pain, redness, and fever should also bring you to the doctor.

Dr O.

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