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How to Bounce Back From a Toe Injury

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 60,000 foot injuries per year resulting in lost work days. Seventy-five percent of those injuries occur when established safety guidelines were not being followed. Other statistics (from the National Safety Council) report that there are over 120,000 occupation-related foot injuries per year.

Whether you’re on the job or on the field, toe injuries can happen to anyone. Wearing proper shoes, following safety guidelines at work and in sports, and taking time to stretch and warm-up may reduce your likelihood of sustaining a toe injury. However, if you have become injured, follow these recommendations…

Your Toe Injury Action Plan

First, check to see if your toe may be broken. Broken toes may present the following signs or symptoms:

    • Obvious visible deformity
    • Severe pain
    • Difficulty walking / bearing weight
    • Swelling (though swelling can also be a sign of a sprain – not a fracture)

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, see a health care provider for urgent care.

Self-Care for Toe Injuries

In many cases, sprained toes may be treated at home through appropriate self-care measures such as the following:

    • Clean wounds: If the skin has been punctured, clean any wounds thoroughly. While minor cuts and scrapes can be cared for at home, seek professional care for deeper wounds – especially wounds that are warm to the touch, have drainage or are extremely painful.
    • R.I.C.E. method: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help tremendously with pain and swelling. Learn how to apply this technique.
    • Tape up: Place some padding between the sprained toe and a neighboring healthy toe; tape the two together. This method of taping (“buddy taping”) can provide some stability and help the sprained toe heal. This style of taping is not appropriate for patients with diabetes and some other conditions. Ask your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

As your toe heals, you can slowly increase activity. Wear stable, protective footwear while walking, and use R.I.C.E. after exercise to help manage any pain incurred.

See a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

Have more questions about caring for an injured toe? Need to see a provider for an evaluation? Schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.