What Causes A Broken Pinky Toe

When your frantically getting ready for a camping trip, you catch your fifth toe on an object in the house. You may even hear a crack. Now you've got a painful fifth toe with a possible fracture.

Symptoms and Evaluation of a Possible Broken Pinky Toe

I frequently have this type of patient come into my office. Their toe is swollen, black and blue, and x-rays show it's fractured. The first thing I determine is whether it's stable. Let's assume the fracture is stable. The toe alignment is good, but the toe is painful. And of course, you're getting ready to head out for a weekend of summer fun. Given our short summers in Seattle, you definitely want to take advantage of this. But what do you do to be safe?

Treatment of a Broken Pinky Toe

The first thing I do is tape the fifth toe to the fourth toe, and possibly even the third. Now we're gonna wrap a fifth toe to help treat a toe fracture. We're starting with the use of fairly small, self-stick material. This happens to be called CoFlex. The common one available is also called Coban, C-O-B-A-N. Start with the fifth toe. This kind of wrapping is called a buddy splint because we're gonna go around the injured toe, in this case the fifth toe, and then connect it to its buddy, the fourth. I often also add in the third toe. Now we've stabilized the fifth toe.

Second, I assess how much activity you're going to encounter on your trip. And we want to try to immobilize the toe beyond just taping. One of the simplest things to use is called a postoperative surgical sandal. It's just a flat sandal with Velcro that does not bend. This is the key. You have to leave the toe alone. Well, how do you know you're leaving it alone? Well, if you have normal sensation, the best way to know you're leaving alone is to have minimal pain. So if you splint the three toes together, you put it in a surgical sandal, and you're just around the campfire and not on a trail too much, this may be all you need to do for at least part of the time.

Third, if you plan to be more active, you cannot be in flip flops. You need to use a shoe or a boot that will stop your leg from moving over the foot and minimize the force on those toes. That could be as little as a tennis shoe. But what I like to recommend in the situation just described, out camping and wanting to be on a trail a little bit, is a lightweight hiking shoe. Preferably that comes above the ankle and where the sole has minimal bending. But if you don't own a pair, you should go out and get a pair.

So bottom line, injury to fifth toes is very common. Immobilization of the toe with buddy splinting is necessary. And wearing something to protect the toe and stop the bending is crucial.

Need Relief From A Broken Pinky Toe in Seattle, Washington? Request an Appointment Now

Don't let a broken pinky toe cause you to miss out on the activities you enjoy. Complete the contact form on this page or call our office at 206-368-7000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Berg.

Most new patients are seen within 1-2 week's time. During your initial visit, Dr. Berg will spend up to 30 minutes getting to know you, your podiatry complaints, and your goals so that he can recommend the treatment best meets your needs. Don’t wait—contact us today.

North Seattle Foot & Ankle Specialist Dr. Rion Berg offers compassionate podiatry care for all foot and ankle problems to those living in Seattle Washington and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an immediate appointment or request an appointment online.


Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.