Broken Toes

Fractures of the toes account for the most common fracture seen in the forefoot. According to Thomas Mittlmeier and Patrick Haar authors of “Sesamoid and toe fractures” 140 per 100,000 people have a toe fracture each year.

Most people believe nothing can be done for toe fractures and they simply heal without any treatment at all. However in some cases, toe fractures may require further treatment to prevent long term pain and complications. It is important to obtain X-rays in the case of any suspected fracture. In some instances fractures may be displaced or angulated which may require them to be reset (closed reduced) into the correct alignment.

In other cases, the toe fracture can occur in conjunction with a skin break resulting in an open fracture. Open fractures are generally more serious and may require antibiotics or surgical washout. Sometimes open fractures can go unnoticed if the skin break occurs under the toe nail.  If  a toe fracture is neglected, it can heal in bad alignment resulting in chronic pain, stiffness, and arthritis. In cases of open fractures there is a risk of serious soft tissue and bone infection.

Symptoms of a toe fracture can include direct trauma or injury followed by pain, swelling, and bruising to the area. Treatment can range from immobilization, splinting, close reduction, and in severe cases, surgical repair. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury and suspect a toe fracture visit your podiatrist as early as possible. Early and appropriate treatment is paramount in preventing long term pain and complications.

Image Courtesy –  (North Broward Radiologists)

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