There’s nothing you can do for a broken toe…Or is there?

How many times have you heard the statement:  “There’s nothing you can do for a broken toe”?  It’s a faulty assertion that deserves some professional clarification.

Treating a broken toe, University Foot and Ankle InsituteA common injury that affects many of us at some time or another is a broken toe.  They seem to happen most often around the home, walking barefoot, with a stubbing injury (#badwords) against a corner of furniture, door, or wall (who put that wall there???).

One of the most common things we hear from patients regarding broken toes is something to the effect:  “well, we all know there’s nothing you can do for a broken toe…”  This frequently used, but faulty, statement has been ingrained in peoples minds and often puts them on the wrong path to recovery.  Most problems can be averted with proper appreciation of exactly what’s wrong, and by subsequently outlining the appropriate course for treating a broken toe.  It’s actually quite rare that nothing can or should be done.

Different types of broken or fractured toes

Toe fractures, or broken toes, come in all shapes and sizes.  The wide spectrum of possibilities include the following:  a non-displaced hairline crack, a chip fracture, a displaced and angulated fracture with a crooked toe, a break into a joint of the toe, an open fracture that can penetrate through the skin, a transverse unstable fracture, etc.

The combinations are all frequently seen, and treatment is different for many of these.

Here is a simple diagram (pardon the amateur artwork) of some of these different fracture patterns:

Types of broken and fractured fingers

Treating a broken toe

The fracture pattern determines the right treatment:  buddy splinting to an adjacent toe (and the angle of the fracture tells which toe to splint it to), stiff soled shoe vs boot, if a regular shoe is okay, if the toe needs to be reduced (numbed up and manipulated straight and then splinted), etc.  The high majority of toe fractures do not need surgery.

Even buddy splinting needs to be professionally instructed.  For example, with a common oblique fracture of a 3rd toe that is in alignment, if you splint it to the 2nd toe it may heal just fine.  However, based on the angle of the fracture, if you splint it to the 4th toe, it will likely gap the fracture and cause it to heal crooked.  So, seeing the fracture pattern on x-ray helps guide the appropriate treatment.

If you have a significant stubbing injury, we recommend you get the toe examined and x-rayed. Digital x-rays can be performed in our office, allowing for careful evaluation of the bones of the feet.  This quick x-ray can be very helpful in determining the appropriate course of treatment.

The physicians at University Foot and Ankle Institute are nationally recognized experts in the treatment of foot and ankle conditions.  If you would more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

The University Foot & Ankle Institute is there to help keep your feet moving in the right direction.

Dr. Justin Franson

Dr. Justin Franson

After studying accounting and then leaning toward a physical therapy at Brigham Young University, Dr. Franson decided to pursue podiatry as his career. He then attended the School College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago.

Upon graduation in 2001, Franson accepted a three-year residency program at the Greater Los Angeles VA and UCLA County Hospital.

Dr. Franson specializes in several areas including total ankle replacement and sports medicine.
Dr. Justin Franson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

8 + 9 =

  • CustomerSure
    Suzanne & her staff are not only professional at all times during my treatment, but are very thoughtful and caring.
    Frank G.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Baravarian is a very caring and patient doctor. During my first visit with him he really took the time to listen to my concerns and talk to me about all my options regarding my chronic pain. I highly recommend Dr....
    Tina B.
  • CustomerSure
    We were very impressed with Dr. Briskin. He comes very highly recommended by several people within the community!
    Kimberly F.
  • From my first visit to the Foot and Ankle Institute in Santa Monica to my last physical therapy session, Dr. Baravarian and his team always took the time to answer all my questions and do everything possible to ensure...
    Chris
  • Yelp
    Two thumbs up Dr. B. My son and I are both pain free now and we are very happy with the service we got at your office.
    Haleh S.
  • CustomerSure
    You guys are 3 for 3 on surgeries for me. Thanks so much!
    Paige K.
  • Yelp
    I recently saw Dr. Baravarian for an issue I was having with my tibia.  I was referred to him by my primary physician. I am SO happy that I met him.  After a few office visits with him, and a very successful surgery, ...
    Yesenia B.
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. Morris was great, as well as all the office staff. I live far, but it has been worth the drive. Thank you!!!!
    Emilio R.
  • CustomerSure
    Very satisfied!
    Pearl W.
  • CustomerSure
    The whole staff at University Foot & Ankle Institute is wonderful!!
    Nathalie R.
Same day appointments now available!
or call 24/7:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center