Conventional wisdom says there isn’t really anything you can do for a broken toe. Well, conventional wisdom is dumb as hell. As it turns out, there are interventions that can—and should—be used when you break your toe.
Yes, you should see a doctor when you break a toe
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If you suspect you broke your toe by stubbing it or dropping something on it, disregard what you’ve heard about them being unfixable, and get to a doctor. Here are the signs you might have broken your toe, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
- A toe is pointing in a different direction than the other toes
- One toe twisted and turned upward
- The toe is swollen
- The toe is bruised
- You can’t put weight on your foot
- The pain lasts more than a day or two
Cleveland Clinic advised against icing your toe, too, as you need blood flowing to the injury to promote healing, but it’s best to check with your doctor about whether they want you to ice it or not. In the meantime, elevate it and take some pain relievers—but get to a professional as soon as you can.
What can a doctor do?
It’s worth a trip to the doctor because even if they tell you to simply tape the toe up, there exists the chance they might have other treatments for you—and skipping those is no good. For instance, if your bone got yanked out of alignment, it will need to be realigned. Even simple toe fractures can cause issues like arthritis in the future if they don’t heal properly. It’s best to get checked out.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can typically treat the broken toe by taping it to one of its neighbors, but severe fractures may need casts or surgeries. Your doctor can determine if the fracture is severe—especially if this occurs on your big toe, which plays a major role in balancing and walking.