Broken Toe


A broken toe, also known as toe fracture occurs when the toe bone breaks after an injury. Each toe is composed of many bones and one or more of these bones may be fractured after dropping something on it or stubbing it.

A toe that is broken can be extremely painful and has the potential to become infected. However, in the majority of cases, healing occurs relatively quickly, usually taking between four to six weeks. The typical treatment for a fractured toe is to apply tape to it, securing it to the adjacent toe. In instances where the toe is severely broken, a cast or surgery may be required.

Failure to treat a fractured toe may lead to difficulties in walking and running. The break may raise the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in that specific toe in the future.


At the time of the injury, one may hear the bone break. Generally, the first sign of a broken toe is throbbing pain. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising or change of skin color in the area surrounding the toe
  • Stiffness
  • Toe is bent or at an unnatural angle
  • Difficulty putting any weight on the toe

If any signs or symptoms of a broken toe persist, especially if it affects one’s ability to walk or stand, it is recommended to seek medical attention. Sometimes a sprained toe may be mistaken for a broken toe. However, a sprained toe typically doesn’t appear dislocated and is accompanied by less bruising than a broken toe. To determine whether it’s a break or a sprain, it’s best to consult a doctor immediately so they can examine the toe and determine the type of injury. It’s important to inform the doctor if there is any numbness or tingling in the toe, as this could be an indication of nerve injury.


Broken toes are frequently caused by trauma or injury to the foot or toe. It is most commonly caused by stubbing it into something hard or having something heavy fall on it.

A fractured toe can also occur as a result of a stress fracture or lengthy repeated movements, such as those involved in certain sports. It is also common to people who carry large goods without suitable foot protection, such as thick boots.