Posted by Jenn F. on Friday, July 26th, 2013
You’re rushing around the house, with your mind focused on a task you need to get done, when you cut a corner too close or step into a piece of furniture. The pain sensation rushes straight to your brain and out your mouth. “OW!” you instinctively cry out. This has happened to all of us at one point or another. The problem occurs when the toe begins to swell and turn purple. It can be difficult to tell a stubbed toe from a broken toe — especially considering that there are so many nerve endings in the feet, a basic toe stub can feel like a bus has just run over your foot.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you have just stubbed your toe on a hard, stationary object — or dropped something onto it:
You should visit the emergency room if there are open wounds with bleeding and drainage (compound fracture); a cold, tingling numbness in the toes; blue or gray-colored skin near the injury; or an obvious deformity. On the other hand, you should call a doctor if over-the-counter medication does not take care of the pain, if there is an open wound, if the bruising or bleeding causes you significant pain, or if you are having difficulty walking. Keep in mind that untreated fractures often lead to arthritis of the feet.
It could be two and a half months before your toe is fully healed again. Resting, icing and elevating are good first steps to treat the fracture yourself. From there, a foot doctor can splint or tape the toe to keep it in a fixed position while it heals. Often, a post-op shoe is recommended to limit the possibility of a re-fracture and stabilize the foot during recovery. In rare cases, casting or surgery may be needed to put the toe back into place. In the future, you can benefit from wearing orthopedic slippers around the house to protect your feet from injury.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.