These injuries are some of the most commonly diagnosed lower extremity fractures. Most commonly they are caused by crush injuries, such as dropping a heavy item on top of the toe. Another common method of injury is excessive axial load, an example is stubbing toe on a piece of furniture. Hyperextension and stress fractures of toes are uncommon.
If the fractures are open, meaning there is an overlying cut or scrape, they require immediate management to minimize the risk of infection. These do occur quite commonly and a timely evaluation can make all the difference.
For closed fractures, ones with no break in the skin, they may often be subtle with minimal bruising initially. X rays are effective for quick diagnosis, our staff can perform several radiographic views in the office to evaluate the presence of a fracture and whether it is in a good position. Fractures sometimes may cause a dislocation of the toe, which can put pressure on adjacent arteries and compromise the blood flow to the digit. In these instances, a small injection may be required to numb the toe and allow our doctors to manipulate the fracture into a better position.
In the case of a stable, nondisplaced toe fracture, treatment may simply be buddy taping the fractured digit to a neighboring toe and dispensing a rigid-sole shoefor ambulation to limit joint movement.
Toe fractures usually take 4-6 weeks to heal but this time frame may increase if you have underlying comorbidities or if the fracture is in several pieces. Rarely, surgery may be required to anatomically align the toe and stabilize the fracture with either pins or screws.
If there is a possibility you may have a toe fracture, our recommendation is to come and see one of our doctors as soon as possible for a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan to get your injury healed as fast as possible!