Broken Toe (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Broken toe facts
- What is a broken toe?
- What are the symptoms of a broken toe?
- What are the causes of a broken toe?
- When should I call a doctor about a broken toe?
- How is a broken toe diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a broken toe?
- Can I care for a broken toe at home?
- What is the medical treatment for a broken toe?
- Buddy tape for a broken toe
- How to buddy tape a broken toe
- Casting a broken toe
- Reduction for a broken toe
- What are the possible complications of a broken toe?
- What is the prognosis for a broken toe?
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
Buddy tape for a broken toe
- If there is a minor or small fracture in a bone of one of the small toes, a doctor may only need to tape the injured toe to the one next to it for support. This treatment is called buddy taping.
- If the toe is buddy taped, it is usually safe to bathe, and then replace the tape afterward, however, check with the doctor prior to removing the tape to bathe.
How to buddy tape a broken toe
- Put a small piece of cotton or gauze between the toes that are taped together. (This prevents the skin between the toes from developing sores or blisters.)
- Using as little tape as necessary, loosely tape the broken toe to the toe next to it.
- If the toes are taped too tightly it can cause additional swelling and may cut off circulation to the injured toe.
NOTE: Always follow your doctor's instructions on how to tape your broken toe.
Casting a broken toe
- A cast usually is not required for a simple toe fracture. A hard-soled, sturdy, and supportive shoe or boot should be worn. A doctor may give the patient a special shoe to wear if the foot or toes are very swollen.
- A cast (or surgery) may be needed if the big toe is broken, a fracture involves a joint, several small toe fractures occur at once, or if a bone in the foot or leg is broken in addition to the toe.
Reduction for a broken toe
- If the toe fracture is displaced (the two ends of the broken toe bone are out of place) or rotated (the toe is pointing in the wrong direction), or the toe is dislocated, the doctor may need to reduce it, or set the broken toe back into place.
- Sometimes local anesthesia may be needed to numb the toe before it is put back into place.
- After a reduction, a splint will be applied to the broken toe to hold it in place while it heals.
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