The pain associated with simple toe fractures typically can be relieved with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Stronger painkillers can be prescribed if the pain from your fracture is more severe.
If the broken fragments of your bone don't fit snugly together, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. In most cases, this can be accomplished without cutting open your skin. Ice or injected anesthesia is used to numb your toe.
To heal, a broken bone must be immobilized so that its ends can knit back together. Examples include:
- Buddy taping. If you have a simple fracture in any of your smaller toes, your doctor may simply tape the injured toe to its neighboring toe. The uninjured toe acts like a splint. Always put some gauze or felt in between toes before taping them together to prevent skin irritation.
- Wearing a stiff-bottomed shoe. Your doctor might prescribe a post-surgical shoe that has a stiff bottom and a soft top that closes with strips of fabric fastener. This can prevent your toe from flexing and provide more room to accommodate the swelling.
- Casting. If the fragments of your broken toe won't stay snugly together, you may need a walking cast.
In some cases, a surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing.
Nov. 09, 2011
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- Banerjee R, et al. Injury to the lesser phalanges and interphalangeal joints. In: Browner BD, et al. Skeletal Trauma. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: WB Saunders Co.; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2220-6..10061-1--s2460&isbn=978-1-4160-2220-6&sid=1197213649&uniqId=276594717-7#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2220-6..10061-1--s2470. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Gravlee JR, et al. Toe fractures in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.