Broken Toe


The diagnosis of a broken toe starts with informing the doctor as thoroughly as possible about the injuries and the symptoms. A physical examination will be performed to examine the skin around the injury to ensure that it is not cut and that the toe continues to get blood flow and nerve signals. They will also look for painful spots on the toes.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order X-rays of the damaged toe. It is critical to obtain photos from several angles in order to determine the extent of the break. The X-ray information will also assist in determining whether surgery is required.


  • Medications: Extreme pain may necessitate the use of prescription pain relievers to manage the symptoms of a broken toe. In most cases, pain may be treated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen.
  • Reduction: A reduction may be performed to reposition the fractured bone. The toe is numbed by ice or an injection of anesthesia. It is typically performed without cutting the skin.
  • Keeping the toe from moving: To assist control pain and swelling, keep the foot elevated as much as possible, especially in the first two days following injury. Avoid movement of the fractured bone to help its ends knit back together and heal. The following methods may be used:
    • Buddy taping: The typical treatment for a broken toe is known as “buddy taping,” which involves gently taping the affected toe to the adjacent toe using medical tape. The uninjured toe acts as a splint, providing support to the broken toe as it begins to heal. To avoid skin irritation, a gauze pad is usually placed between the toes before taping them together.
    • Wearing a stiff-bottomed shoe: A post-operative shoe with a rigid sole and a flexible upper that fastens with fabric strips may be recommended by a healthcare professional. This type of shoe can help immobilize the toes and allow for more space to accommodate swelling.
    • Casting: If the fragments of a fractured toe cannot be held firmly in place, a walking cast may be recommended to provide support. A walking cast may be prescribed to provide adequate support to the foot and to alleviate some of the pain that may be experienced when walking.
  • Surgery: In cases of severe fractures, surgery may be necessary to realign the broken bone or bones. During surgery, a surgeon may insert pins, plates, or screws into the bone to assist with its healing. These metallic components will remain permanently attached to the toe.