How long does it take to heal a broken toe?
Broken toe (toe fracture) is usually the result of a direct external force. Symptoms are a swollen, bluish-colored toe, which can not be moved properly. It can be treated very conservatively with a tape bandage or a special medical gypsum shoe. Operation for broken toe is rare but possible.
Broken toe is one of the most common fractures of the forefoot. Each year, 140 out of 100,000 people suffer a toe fracture.
Most toes are made up of three bones: the base member, the middle member, and the end member. The big toe is an exception because it consists of only two bones. In some humans, the middle limb and the end limb are fused together in the small toe. Most often, the base of the small toe is broken.
If a toe shows a misalignment, hurts and is restricted to a limited extent, the toe is broken. Symptoms such as swelling and bruising (under the nail or the entire toe) may be associated. In addition, the nail bed is often injured in a toe fracture. A broken small toe is often recognizable by its clear misalignment.
For a good healing, a toe broken must be immobilized. The break of a toe can happen quickly. A fracture (bone fracture) can develop as a result of a strong impact. The toe is also squeezed and possibly broken by heavy falling objects. These injuries are called impact trauma.
Healing time of broken toe
The duration of the healing of a broken toe can vary greatly from case to case. This depends above all on what a break is. When the toe breaks smoothly, this is usually uncomplicated. However, a complicated fracture may also occur. In the latter case, the bones do not fit again as quickly or simply as is the case with a smooth fracture. Thus, the healing period extends due to complicated broken toe.
Broken toe usually heals between three to six weeks. This healing duration also depens on the severity and nature of the fracture. In the case of a break in the large toe, it is necessary to plaster in most cases. Thus, the affected toe is surely immobilized.
Fractures on the other toes usually heal without special treatment. In these cases, a bandage is sufficient. In doing so, the broken toe is attached to the next healthy toe safely.
It is important in any case not to strain the broken toe. In occupations with a lot of running, a doctor may be requested. The affected toe is thus spared and the healing time can be shortened.
How is broken toe diagnosed?
If you suspect a toe fracture, you should consult a doctor for orthopedics and accident surgery. To clarify whether the toe is broken or sprained, the doctor will first ask you about the accident and your medical history. Some questions from the doctor might be:
- How did the accident end?
- Did you hit your feet, or did an object fall on your feet?
- Do you have pain?
- Have you complaints such as pain and movement restriction in the foot area before?
Then the doctor will examine your toe. An open broken toe is easy to recognize: through an open skin site, bone fragments are visible. A closed toe fracture occurs when the broken toe is displaced.
What are the treatment options of for broken toe?
A broken toe usually heals without great difficulty. Only inadequate treatment may delay the healing in some cases.
Broken Toe (Toe Fracture): Conservative treatment
If the toe fracture is low or not moved, conservative treatment is considered. The doctor will tape the broken toe.
In children, a broken toe has to be taped only for three weeks. Adults should wear the bandage for four to five weeks until the pain has abated. If the wrong position is still preserved, an operation must be considered.
If several toes are injured, a medical gypsum shoe is applied to the patient.
Broken Toe (Toe Fracture): Operative treatment
An unstable fractured toe is operated. A broken big toe is fixed with screws or plates. If a fracture develops through the fracture in the upper limb joint, this must also be corrected surgically so that the foot can be unrolled without pain. Breaks of the remaining toes are fixed with miniscrews or wires.
If an open toe fracture is present, the damaged tissue is removed and the entire wound area is thoroughly rinsed. A possible foot joint syndrome should be relieved as quickly as possible.
What can sufferers do with broken toe?
If a toe injury occurs, the first measures are important. For example, the affected site is rapidly cooled. This not only relieves the pain, but also ensures that a bruise does not develop quite as strongly. Bruise causes even greater pain and limitations. Another measure is the height of the affected foot. It is important that the injured toe or broken toe should not be strained.
In such an injury the pain relief is in the foreground. You have to observe some rules when cooling. A cold pack should never be placed directly on the skin, as skin damage can occur. It is best to put a cloth between the ice pack and the injured area. In addition, cooling should be done in 15-20 minutes intervals.