Diagnosis and Treatment of Toe Fractures in Wake County

What is a Toe Fracture?

Toe fractures are a relatively common type of fracture that usually does not require surgical intervention to properly heal. Stubbing the toe or dropping something heavy on the toe is the most frequent cause of this common injury. In severe breaks or breaks of the big toe, surgery or casting may be required to ensure proper healing.

What Causes Toe Fractures?

Kicking a heavy object, stubbing the toe on something hard, dropping something heavy on the toe, and getting kicked or stepped on in a contact sport can all cause a toe fracture. In cases of repetitive activity such as running or sports, you may suffer a stress fracture.

Risk Factors for Toe Fractures

Risk factors for toe fractures include not wearing proper footwear, such as steel-toed boots in working situations; not wearing shoes at all; playing contact sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, etc.; advanced age; and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of Toe Fractures

Symptoms of a toe fracture can vary, but generally include the sensations listed below. If you believe that you have fractured your toe, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist so you can start taking the right steps toward healing from your injury. Symptoms of a toe fracture include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Pain to the touch
  • Stiffness of the toe
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Deformity of the toe
  • Trouble walking
  • Decreased movement and/or range of motion in the toe

How are Toe Fractures Diagnosed?

Since most toe fractures can heal nonsurgically, your doctor may only perform a physical examination of your toe in addition to learning more about your symptoms and the incident that prompted them. If your doctor needs a clearer view of the break, or suspects that the fracture may be severe, they may recommend X-rays.

Treatment Options for Toe Fractures at Raleigh

Toe fractures are most often treated nonsurgically. In rare cases, surgery may be required. Our specialists at Raleigh Orthopaedic will let you know which course of treatment is best suited for you.

Nonsurgical Treatment

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Buddy taping, where your doctor tapes the broken toe to its neighbor, may be performed to keep the injured toe stable as it heals. A walking cast or a stiff shoe may also be provided. If the bone is out of alignment, you will be given local anesthesia in-office and your doctor will reduce (move) the bones back into the proper place.

Surgical Treatment Options

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If the toe fracture is severe and cannot be reduced into place by your doctor in the office, surgery may be needed. Your doctor may use open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) surgery, which uses pins or screws to hold the bones in place.

Toe Fractures Recovery Time

Recovery from a toe fracture depends on the severity of the fracture and whether or not surgery is required. In general, a broken toe should be fully healed after 12 weeks. If you have undergone surgery for a broken toe, your surgeon will provide detailed recovery instructions so you feel confident in your recovery process at home. Resuming activity too soon after surgery can increase the risk for re-injury, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly.

How Can I Prevent Toe Fractures?

Prevention of toe fractures may not always be possible, but taking the following steps may help reduce your risk.

  • Wear the correct footwear for the activity you are participating in
  • Wear the correct sports equipment for the sport you are playing
  • Be sure to strength train and eat a healthy diet to keep your bones strong
  • Make sure your work and home environments are well-lit and clear for walking to prevent falls or stubs
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Expert Orthopedic Foot Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic

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For over 100 years, we have served patients in Wake County and provided the highest level of orthopedic care. If you wish to set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists or surgeons, give us a call or book an appointment online today. We look forward to helping you live and move more comfortably!