Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: broken toe

By Dr. Rion Berg
December 19, 2014
Category: sports injuries
Tags: broken toe   turf toe   sesamoiditis  

I don’t know what it is about the holidays and end of year, but for some reason a lot of patients call us because they broke their hallux or great toe. Just this past week one patient, ready to leave for a ski vacation, broke her toe by kicking her bed. Another patient broke his toe tripping up some steps. Other people are rushing around at this time of year buying, wrapping gifts, cooking and inadvertently run into a hard object. Throughout the year broken toes are often the result of people walking barefoot at night and end up kicking all kinds of objects lying around their house. Heavy objects falling on your tootsies can also cause a fracture.

You would think, a broken toe is no big deal, right? Sometimes. If the injury is mild, rest, taping the great toe to your other toe, or wearing a hiking boot or walking boot may work just fine. However, if  a more severe fracture is neglected it may not heal properly leading to complications such as arthritis. Surgery is sometimes required.

Turf toe and sesamoiditis are other toe injuries that occur most often during individual and team sports.

Do yourself a favor if you jamb your toe into a door, bed, or other hard object come to the office and Dr. Rion Berg will do an examination, X-rays, and then provide you a treatment plan that will work for you.

Make an appointment by calling us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.


Celebrity Una Foden, of pop group The Saturdays, is a member of another group: the broken toe club. After injuring her toe while training for the TV show “Splash!,” she recently sought advice from her Twitter followers: “Anyone ever have a broken baby toe? It’s been 10 weeks and it’s still red and tender/swollen!”

Lately it seems that many celebrities are having foot troubles. Yet when I see famous people putting their work or fashion ahead of their pain, I doubt they are following sound medical advice and suspect they may be exacerbating their condition. Ms. Foden has been seen wearing black heels with studded toe details, and has continued rehearsals and performances. In a previous blog written by Dr. Berg, he noted how Victoria Beckham also refused to give up stilettos despite her painful bunions.  

Everyone is at risk for fracturing a toe. Most of these injuries occur inadvertently, such as catching the little toe on the bedpost or door frame. And, as someone who has broken a little toe, I agree with Ms. Foden's tweet: “boy does it hurt.”

If you have a great deal of pain, swelling, bruising or difficulty walking following a stub, kick, smash or falling object on a toe, you might have a fractured toe. Rest and ice are generally helpful, but don’t hesitate to see your podiatrist. Your doctor will evaluate the extent of the injury and provide tips, techniques and products to speed healing and reduce pain. Immobilization is key to bone healing, and your podiatrist can provide a special boot or shoe to achieve this.  "Buddy splinting," or taping the injured toe to a neighboring toe, is also a common technique. Your doctor will also monitor your healing with x-rays and examinations.  

Avoid becoming a member of the broken toe club by wearing proper footwear and keeping away from scary diving boards. But if you do you happen to be having an accident prone day or are playing sports and bump, stub, or fracture your poor toe, give us a call at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000. We'll get you back to doing what you love faster than you can say Splash!


While not the most common way to break a toe, stomping on it could certainly cause this pesky injury and lead to delaying appearances, especially if you have to wear high heels like Jennifer Aniston.

Toe fractures occur frequently, often resulting from a direct blow to the end of the toe. When was the last time you wandered in the dark and kicked a piece of furniture? You have good company as this is the number one patient complaint. Ouch!

The toe will swell and often discolor. The fractures can range from very fine fracture lines to longer fractures with separation of the fragments. The most painful ones are where the fracture extends into the joint.  Each toe other than the great toe has three bones and any one or more of them can be involved.

The problem with toe fracture healing is just what Jennifer presents with. If I’m not misjudging the situation, that dress she wore would typically be covering a pair of heeled shoes. This would certainly place a lot of stress on the toe fracture and cause significant pain.

The fractured part has to be put to rest. If you have normal sensation, the goal then is to immobilize the injured bones and have pain as close to zero as possible throughout the day. The most common treatment is to apply a buddy splint;  wrapping the toe and then taping it to the next toe. I like to splint the toe to two other toes for increased stability.

The goal is stability and no pain. If you are still having moderate pain just using the splint, the toe is not stable and will take much longer to heal. A stiff hiking boot, surgical sandal, or a below the knee walking cast can be necessary to heal a toe fracture. The sooner you come in and get the toe immobilized the better; then the healing can begin.  

So, don’t cover up a pair of high heels while nursing a broken toe, have it evaluated by a foot specialist, have it splinted and immobilized properly , and pay attention to my “zero” rule when it comes to how much pain you should be having.

All people with broken toes, call us at 206-368-7000 or www.bergdpm.com