Toe Sprain

Painful and Tender Toes

What could be my problem?

Toe sprain caused by jamming the toe from landing awkwardly, stopping suddenly and having your toe collide with the front of your shoe or stubbing it on a stationary object.

It is important to see of foot specialist as soon as possible if you aren’t sure if you have a sprained, broken or dislocated toe. Attempting to apply the treatment for a dislocated toe to a sprained or broken toe will result in a tremendous amount of pain as well as additional harm to the injury.

What causes a Toe Sprain?

  • Common among athletes; involved in rugby, track, hockey, soccer and football
  • Sudden movement or too much pressure on one part of the toe which pushes the toe out of its natural position
  • Walking barefoot over uneven terrain

When to see a foot doctor about a Toe Sprain:

  • Experiencing pain and tenderness in the toe, especially while moving the toe
  • The toe appears bruised or discolored
  • The toe looks out of place compared to the rest of the toes
  • If you have pain and/or swelling in the toe lasting more than 48 hours

How to treat a Toe Sprain:


  • A toe sprain can be treated at home, but if severe symptoms are present it is wise to see a foot specialist as soon as possible for a medical evaluation before continuing to ensure the toe is not broken or dislocated.
  • Rest
  • Ice:  20 minutes every 2 – 3 hours for the first few days following injury. (Apply a thin towel between the skin and the ice bag to prevent skin damage.)
  • Elevate the injured foot to reduce blood flow to the injured toe and reduce swelling
  • Use protective shoes that limit toe movement and prevent re-stubbing the injured toe
  • Use over the counter medications to reduce inflammation and pain while the toe heals.