Toe Fracture

Foot Pain, Swelling, Bruising, Deformity or Difficulty Walking

What could be my problem? 

A broken toe is a common injury that most often occurs when you drop something on your foot or stub your toe. Less obvious are stress fractures of the toe that can occur from repetitive movements usually from certain types of sports or occupational requirements. 

When to see a foot doctor about a Broken Toe:

  • Pain, swelling and discoloration continue for more than a few days 
  • There is deformity, difficulty walking or injury to the toenail
  • The injury interferes with your ability to walk or wear shoes
  • If the toe fracture is severe, casting or surgery may be recommended to ensure the broken toe heals properly.
  • Delayed complications of an untreated broken toe occuring after the toe has healed can include: arthritis, chronic pain, chronic stiffness or deformity.
  • Delayed complications can occur when the bone does not heal completely (nonunion), or heals improperly (malunion), requiring surgery at a later date to correct the condition.
  • Broken toes usually heal within 6 weeks.  If you have not seen a foot specialist and problems with your toe persist longer than six weeks the injury should be rechecked to evaluate how the bone is healing.

If I have a Toe Fracture, what are my treatment options?


Depending on the location and severity of the toe fracture:

  • the broken fragments of your bone may need to be reduced (manipulated by the physician back to their proper position) if they aren't in their proper alignment
  • the toe may need to be splinted or casted
  • where there is an open wound near the injured toe, a culture may need to be taken to check for  infection and antibiotics prescribed, x-rays may be taken to check for a foreign body, and the wound closed with stitches using a local anesthetic.
  • a simple fracture in the smaller toes may be taped to its neighbor toe which acts as a splint (Buddy Taping)
  • a walking cast or a stiff bottom shoe may be prescribed


In rare cases of a complex fracture, a foot surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your foot and toe bones during healing to avoid the complications listed above.