What you do with a fractured toe

What you do with a fractured toe

The sports world got a real treat when NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers had to clarify the extent of a recent toe injury to national media, even showing his toe to the world.

So is a fractured toe a common occurrence? And, what is the treatment if you have a fractured toe?

“Most of my patients get little toe fractures at home, many times bumping into furniture at night,” says Dr. Todd Rieter, a podiatrist at Advocate Aurora Health. “Sometimes this is called a ‘bedpost fracture’”.

Fractures rarely need surgery, but you should get an X-ray after a possible break as a small number may not heal if the bones are displaced, he said. Many places recommend to “buddy splint”  or taping a toe next to the fourth toe, but in most circumstances this only makes the toe hurt more, Dr. Rieter said.

“They take a lot longer to heal than most folks would think,” Dr. Rieter said. “They say, ‘It’s only a little toe’ but with the pressure of walking, swelling from it being at the bottom of the body and wearing shoes, it all can slow healing. It can take months for a fractured toe to totally stop hurting, although there should be some improvement weekly.”

Here are some tips that Dr. Rieter recommends if you think you have a fractured toe:

  • Use pain relievers: Take ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory drug to help with the pain and reduce the swelling.
  • Keep your feet elevated: Helps with blood flow to the foot and reduces pain.
  • Keep it on ice: Put an ice pack or even a frozen bag of vegetables (wrapped up in a towel or cloth) on the fractured toe to help with the pain and swelling.
  • If pain continues, see your doctor: If the pain becomes too great, be sure to check with your doctor and have an X-ray taken.

Now is the perfect time to make an appointment with a primary care physician. Whether you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, it’s easy to find a doctor near you. 

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  1. I fractured my little toe when I was in high school back in the 60s. So stupid was I that I did it in the morning and put my shoes on and went to school and limped on it all day. When I got home and took off my shoe, the toe was purple and black from the bruising. My Mom called our doctor who said to tape it with white medical tape and that I should not wear regular shoes for about a week. I wore moccasins to school for the rest of that week. It healed fine.

  2. Marianne Freitag January 11, 2022 at 12:31 pm · Reply

    What can be done for rib fractures?

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Colin Schaller
Colin Schaller

Colin graduated from Marquette University with a degree in communications and has more than 10 years of experience in small marketing firms to Fortune 500 companies. Colin is married to his wonderful wife, Brooke, and they have two children. Outside of work, Colin enjoys golf, going to the gym, watching movies (he is a Star Wars nerd), tinkering with his home theater and spending time with family and friends.