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How can you tell if your toe is broken?

A:

Quick Answer

Symptoms of a broken toe include swelling, pain and stiffness of the digit in question, according to MedicineNet. The toe may also be bruised or take on a deformed look, and it may cause difficulty in walking.

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Full Answer

The typical causes of broken toes are injury and trauma, although repetitive movements can also cause hairline or stress fractures. Broken toe complications can include compound fracture, infection, arthritis, deformity or nail injury. MedicineNet suggests that immediate medical care is sought if open toe fracture is suspected or if there is bleeding involved. Sensations of cold, tingling or numbness require medical evaluation, as does any deformity or if the toe points in the wrong direction or takes on a discolored gray or blue hue.

Diagnosis of broken toe usually involves X-ray studies and a medical examination. MedicineNet recommends decreasing swelling and pain by elevating the foot, staying off of it and applying a cold pack to the toe. The toe may require reducing, which involves putting it back into its correct position. Some complex fractures of the toe may even necessitate surgery. Over-the-counter pain medicine and taping the toe to its neighbor usually helps with discomfort caused by the break. It generally takes around six weeks for a broken toe to heal completely, and most do so without any sort of complication.

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