Broken toes are annoying injuries. It can be extremely frustrating to feel so much pain coming out of such a small and--before your injury--insignificant part of your body. Broken toes are difficult to treat and hard to deal with while they heal. However, with patience and a little understanding about just what you have done to your foot, you will make it through.
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Each of your toes is actually made up of several bones. A trauma to any one of these bones can result in a broken toe. Common causes of broken toes are hard "stubs" or dropping heavy objects on the toe. Repeated, stressful movements, often caused by sports training, can also result in a broken toe. This type of break is called a stress fracture.
Immediately after the injury, you will notice some serious pain and swelling. Bruising is also common. Other symptoms may occur later, such as having difficulty walking--particularly if the big toe is broken--and the feeling that your shoe is too tight. Your toe also may appear strangely bent.
While there are many indications that your toe is broken pretty much immediately after the fact, you can also experience complications as the toe heals. While at first it will be excruciatingly painful and probably swollen and throbbing, as the pain eases other symptoms may set in. Blood may pool under the toenail of the injured toe. Should this occur, you will have to have it professionally drained. Broken toes can take up to six weeks to heal, but you can speed your recovery by taking it easy on your toe and following the doctor's instructions to the letter when it comes to care. Even after the toe has healed, this part of the body is very prone to injury-related arthritis, and you may feel periodic pain in the injured joint.
Many people think that nothing can be done for a broken toe. As a result, even when they have seriously injured their foot, they do not go to the doctor. While there are things that can be done at home to help a broken toe heal, you should always consult a physician to make sure that there are no complications such as infection with your broken bone.
Once you have seen a doctor, there are things you can do to help your toe heal faster. Prop your foot up on pillows whenever possible. This will lesson the swelling. Reclining in a lounge chair has a similar effect. For the first one or two days after you break your toe, you can ice the digit every two hours for about 20 minutes. After the first couple of days, this treatment is no longer helpful or necessary. You should also do your best to stay off your injured foot until the toe is completely healed.
Any time you break a bone, you run the risk of serious infection and major complications. Even if the bone is as small as your little toe, you should still have it examined by a doctor. Particularly if the pain of the break does not ease but gets worse or if the toe becomes sore, red or hot, it is vitally important that you have it checked as soon as possible in order to avoid serious infections that could eventually lead to an amputation if left untreated.
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