Broken Toes


Fred Flintstone, more than once, dropped a bowling ball on his toe, which instantly became three times its size, causing him to hop around on one foot and holler in pain. Though the recurring scene got a lot of laughs, in reality, broken toes are not so funny! Sure, a toe fracture might seem like a small injury, but it can definitely be a big pain!

Besides a Bowling Ball

Although dropping a heavy object on your foot is the top reason broken toes occur, there are other causes of toe fractures. Repetitive stress or sudden trauma in sports, or simply stubbing or jamming your toe could result in a fracture as well. The fact is, this injury is pretty common, and it’s easy to see why! There are 19 bones in the toes of each foot (phalanges), and 5 long bones in each that connect them to the foot -- that’s a lot of opportunity for toe fractures to occur. When they do, you can expect pain, bruising, and swelling – maybe not quite to the extent as in a cartoon, but enough to make wearing shoes uncomfortable! There may also be damage to the toenail, which can turn black, and you may experience stiffness as well.

Beyond Hobbling and Hollering

Of course, whether it’s a broken pinky toe or a broken big toe, your first reaction will be to yell out in pain, but then what should you do? Well, it’s best to have us assess your injury to determine the severity. If the break is serious you may need a walking cast or boot or, in rare cases, surgery to ensure the toe heals correctly and future issues like arthritis are avoided. Until you can make your appointment to our office, you will be able to start your treatment of your broken toe at home as follows:
Broken toe

  • Rest. Avoid strenuous exercise and prolonged activity, and keep weight off your foot as much as possible.
  • Ice. Lay a towel over your toe then apply a bag of ice several times throughout the first couple of days following the injury.
  • Elevate. Keeping your foot propped up on some pillows above heart level will help reduce swelling.
  • Medicate. Anti-inflammatory medication will help minimize pain and swelling as well.

Being Proactive

We tend not to pay much attention to our toes, despite all they do for us – like help us step, run, and even reach things on the top shelf! When you break your toe, it not only hurts, but it can also get in the way of doing the things you enjoy, as well as daily activities. Protection is the key to not allowing that to happen! If you know you’ll be carrying a heavy object, wear protective shoes. Take notice of your terrain and step carefully. Wear proper athletic shoes when you participate in sports.

If you do sustain an injury -- and let’s face it, you can’t avoid everything -- come see us to get proper treatment right away. Call (303) 805-5156 to schedule an appointment, or use our online contact form.