How to treat a broken toe

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There are several bones that are found in the toes that can be broken by hitting it against something, kicking a hard object, falling, dropping something heavy on the toe, or doing some repetitive motions in a sport. An affected person experiences swelling, pain, bruising, and other signs of a fracture. A broken toe heals in about four to six weeks. By enrolling in a course on first aid today, you can readily manage the symptoms.

Symptoms of a broken toe

  • There is difficulty in walking due to pain caused by a broken big toe.
  • Swelling, pain and stiffness can be felt after an injury
  • Discoloration
  • Bruising of the skin can be seen around the toe and a twisted or deformed appearance of the toe, if the broken toe is out of place.
  • Complications can happen immediately after the injury, it can be minutes to days or it can develop later in weeks and even years.

Possible complications of a broken toe include the following:

  • A collection of blood that develops under the toenails which is called subungual hematoma. If the hematoma is large, it needs to be drained and if the hematoma is very large and painful, the toenail has to be removed with the help of a doctor.
  • Sometimes the broken bone found in a fracture may project through the skin which is known as an open fracture and need medical care.
  • When the fracture of the toe has healed, the affected person can still experience arthritis, pain, stiffness and even deformity of the toe.
  • Sometimes the broken toe does not heal completely which is known as non-union or improperly heal which is known as malunion and surgery is the solution for this condition.

Treatment and home remedies

  • Get plenty of rest along with avoiding strenuous exercises as well as standing and walking for long periods of time.
  • Use crutches or a special shoe or boot that is used when walking in order to avoid putting weight on the broken toe while it heals.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours for the first 1-2 days. Frozen peas or corn can also be used to ice a broken toe.
  • To minimize swelling and pain, elevate the foot above the level of the heart as often as possible or place the foot above several layers of pillow while sleeping. Reclining in a lounge chair can also help.
  • Take pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • If the person experiences severe pain, difficulty in walking, appearance of the toe is twisted or deformed, seek medical help immediately.
  • If there is a minor or small fracture found in the bone of one of the small toes, there is a need to tape the injured toe to the next toe near it for support which is called buddy taping. With this kind of treatment, the affected person is safe to take a bath and then replace the tape after taking a bath.

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