At Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS, we see many patients suffer needlessly due to complications from fractured toes. Many times, it’s due to misinformation about this injury. Below are some myths about broken toes that need to be dispelled.
MYTH: If I can walk in it, my toe can’t be broken.
FACT: You can walk on a toe if it’s broken. There are two types of toe fractures: acute and stress. An acute fracture is caused by a severe trauma to the toe such as dropping a very heavy object on it or stubbing it severely. It’s also possible to have a small, hairline crack in the toe which happens as a result of repetitive stress to the toe. There may be a pain in both types of breaks but not enough to prevent you from walking. Unfortunately, patients who walk around with a broken toe usually do more damage which causes long-term debilitation and requires more invasive treatment to correct.
MYTH: The pain is going away so my toe probably isn’t broken.
FACT: In the case of an acute injury, you may experience severe pain at the time of the fracture but after several hours the pain may subside. The toe, however, is still broken! With stress fractures, the pain may increase with activity and go away when your foot is at rest.
MYTH: It’s best to take a “wait and see approach.”
FACT: Actually, delaying seeking treatment can cause the bone to heal improperly and lead to several long-term problems including:
- Permanent deformity in the bone structure of the foot which can limit mobility and make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably
- Arthritis at the site of the break
- Chronic pain
- Need for future surgeries to correct a nonunion of the bone
MYTH: There’s nothing that can be done for a broken toe, so there’s no sense going to the podiatrist.
FACT: Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, has several treatment options he may use for a broken toe. In order to choose the best one for you, however, he will need to examine your toe and probably get an x-ray or another imaging study to determine the type and severity of the break. Taping, splinting and modifications to your footwear can all help speed recovery and ensure that your toe heals properly.