Even though the furniture in your house hasn’t moved, and you most definitely know where it is, sometimes you end up running into it. Whether you trip over the umbrella stand, bump your hip on the dining table, or accidentally kick the coffee table, we’ve all been there. Hitting your toe is never fun, but sometimes, there’s real damage. How do you know it it’s simply been stubbed or if it’s actually broken?
What Should You Do?
It happened. You stubbed your toe. The familiar pain seems to shoot through every part of your foot, being at its worst in your poor throbbing toe. It’s so painful that you start envisioning the cast, x-rays, and various other treatments you’ll need to repair the injury. However, it’s important to know how to accurately assess the pain so you know whether you need medical assistance.
How to Tell the Difference
Stubbing your toe can be so painful that you might believe that it’s broken when it’s not. A stubbed toe might show signs of swelling or bruising, but there’s no further injury under the surface. A broken toe is much more severe, and often presents itself with more obvious and harsher symptoms. The consequences of a broken toe, especially when untreated, include prolonged pain or stiffness, infection, and/or deformity. Here are a few things to do when worse comes to worst.
Give it some time
When it happens, and for some time after, your toe will hurt no matter whether it’s stubbed or broken. However, while the pain from a stubbed toe will subside, a broken toe will continue to hurt for the rest of the day and even longer.
Take Note of Discoloration
A stubbed toe may result in some bruising or bleeding. If the discoloration looks unusually dark, if it lasts longer than a few days, or if there’s an excess of blood under the nail, your toe may be broken. If it looks abnormal, there may be something wrong.
Compare it to Your Other Toe
If it looks bigger, is a different shape, or a different color from your “normal” toe, then the issue likely goes beyond the surface level. Using your unharmed toe as a baseline will allow you to assess the severity of the change. If it’s crooked or stuck in a bent position (upwards, downwards, or side-to-side), it’s important to get an x-ray.
If You Think it’s Broken
It’s always better to be safe than sorry! If you have any of the above issues or suspect that there’s something wrong, schedule an appointment with us. In the meantime, it’s important to get off your toe and get some rest. Elevate your foot on a pillow and apply ice. It may require toe splinting, protective footwear, or surgery. A broken toe generally takes around 4-6 weeks to heal, depending on the severity and method of treatment which is required. Getting treatment before it gets worse is imperative, so don’t hesitate to call us!
If you believe that you might have broken your toe, or if you have any other podiatry-related needs, give us a call today! We here at Proactive Foot and Ankle Associates are happy to help ensure that you’re taking the steps to achieve healthy feet!