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Broken Toe (cont.)

How long does it take for a broken toe to heal?

  • Broken toes usually take about six weeks to heal. If problems last longer than six weeks, another X-ray may be needed, or the injury should be rechecked by the doctor to see how the bone is healing.
  • Simple fractures usually heal well with no problems. However, a very bad fracture or a fracture that goes into a joint is at risk for developing arthritis, pain, stiffness, and possibly even a deformity.
  • Talk to the doctor to find out when to schedule an appointment to have the injured toe evaluated to ensure it is healing properly. If any problems or complications develop, the appointment should be scheduled sooner.

When to seek medical care for a broken toe

The injured toe should be examined every day. Call a doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Worsening or new pain not relieved by pain medication, and the measures described in the treatment section.
  • Sores, redness, or open wounds near the injured toe
  • A cast or splint is damaged or broken

Go to a hospital's emergency department if the following signs or symptoms are present:

  • Cold, numb, or tingling toes
  • Blue or gray colored skin
  • Open wounds, bleeding, or drainage near the broken toe

Which specialties of doctors treat broken toes?

You may initially see a primary care provider (PCP) such as a family practitioner or a child's pediatrician when you first injure your toe. You likely will be referred to an orthopedist or orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in disorders of the musculoskeletal system, or a podiatrist, a specialist in conditions of the foot, for treatment of a toe fracture.

If you are diagnosed with a broken toe in a hospital's emergency department you will be treated by an emergency medicine specialist. Radiologists will read an X-ray or MRI, though they will usually report back to your primary care physician or emergency medicine specialist and you will not directly consult with them.

Can broken toes be prevented?

To help prevent an injury resulting in a broken toe, wear sturdy and supportive shoes.

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. "Toe and Forefoot Fractures." Updated: June 2016.
<http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00165>

Gravlee, J.R., MD. "Toe fractures in adults." UpToDate. Updated: sep 26, 2016.
<https://www.uptodate.com/contents/toe-fractures-in-adults>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2016

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