Doctor's Notes on Broken Toe
A broken toe is a fracture of one of the bones in the toe. Trauma of any kind to the toe and foot is the most common cause of a broken (fractured) toe. Trauma can involve dropping a heavy object onto the foot or stubbing the toe into a hard surface. Severe, throbbing pain at the location of the break is a typical symptom of a broken toe.
Other associated signs and symptoms of a broken toe include swelling, bruising, and change in skin color of the toe. In some cases, the toe may appear to bend at an unnatural angle or a different angle than the toe on the healthy foot. Walking and even standing or bearing weight on the foot may be difficult to impossible with a broken toe. A broken toe may also cause discoloration of the toenails, and the nails may fall out.
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Broken FootBroken bones (also called fractures) in the foot are very common. A fracture of the foot is caused by trauma to the bones of the foot from accidents or repeated stress on the foot bones. The most common symptom of a broken foot is pain. Other symptoms include bruising or redness, deformity of the toes, and the inability to walk on the affected foot.
Bruises (Bruising) Causes, Symptoms, Remedies, Treatment, and PrognosisA bruise is a common skin injury that results in a discoloration of the skin. Symptoms and signs include pain and discolored skin. Applying a cold compress may speed healing and reduce swelling. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be taken for pain.
Cast CareA cast is a rigid protective material of plaster or fiberglass. Cast care includes keeping the cast clean and dry so that it does not smell, not putting anything down inside the cast, or break or trim part of the cast. If anything occurs to the cast (becomes wet and does not dry, becomes very tight and painful, or has a foul smell) see a healthcare professional.
Fractures or DislocationsFractures are breaks in bone and are classified according to several different categories. Compound fractures are the most dangerous; the bone is broken into fragments that come through the skin. Treatment includes setting the broken bone and splinting the injury, among other steps. Steps are taken to prevent infection if the skin is broken.
Nail Injuries (Fingernail, Toenail)Injuries to the fingernails and toenails can range in seriousness from a simple bruise to complete separation from the nail bed. The nail may be permanently deformed as a result.
SplintingA suspected broken bone or dislocation should be immobilized, splinted, or both. Splinting helps to prevent further injury and can provide pain relief.
Wound CareWounds are lacerations, cuts, or punctures in the skin. Wounds can be superficial, deep, punctures, or pressure sores. The amount of pain, inflammation, and bleeding depend on the type of wound. Most superficial wounds can be treated at home. Deep wounds, or complicated wounds generally need medical care. Sutures, staples, or surgical glue for a wound depend on the depth of the wound and the time lapse between the injury and when medical care is sought.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.