Broken (Fractured) Toe

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Cause: Direct trauma, twisting, falling

Appearance: Swollen, black and blue toe/ foot.

How to Diagnose: X-ray


If toe 2-5

- Evaluation/ x-rays /rest if the bone is still in good alignment, if the bone is angulated ( displaced) it will be re-aligned, usually through manual reduction followed by taping.

If 1st toe

- Distal phalanx:

- Evaluation/ x-rays/ rest for 4 weeks if in good alignment

- Proximal phalanx

- Non-weightbearing in boot or cast for 4-6 weeks if in good alignment

- Surgery for misaligned fractures or fractures with multiple pieces

Long-term prognosis: If the bone is in good alignment most healthy bones will heal in 4-6 weeks. If surgery is needed for big toe fractures, after healing, the athlete should be able to return to sports when the bone heals. Alignment is critical for the big toe, as misalignment can lead to rapid onset arthritis, poor fitting shoes, and trouble with push off.

Who to call: Podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon.

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