Should I Be Concerned about a Stubbed Toe?

It happens all too frequently – you walk around barefoot and collide with a piece of furniture. For a split second you know what is coming and then the sharp pain begins. Stubbed toes hurt!

Toes have little fatty tissue to absorb an impact, plus lots of nerve endings that send feedback to the central nervous system. This combination means that stubbed toes are very painful but usually not serious. However, in certain cases your toe may have suffered a more severe injury.

Is Your Stubbed Toe Broken?

Did you hear an unusual sound when you stubbed your toe? It may be broken – here are other symptoms of a fracture:

  • Pain that persists or returns when pressure is applied to the toe
  • Bleeding under the toenail
  • Discoloration or swelling that lasts for a few days
  • Abnormal toe appearance

If you have one or more of these symptoms, your injury should be checked out by a qualified foot doctor. A stubbed toe may result in a dislocation, tendon injury, contusion or a ligament sprain.

A Stubbed Toe May Lead to Complications

Infection: if the skin near your toe injury is broken, an infection may set in especially if the injured toe had an ingrown nail. If a patient who is immune-compromised such as someone with diabetes stubs a toe, it may lead to a bone infection or foot ulcer.

Osteoarthritis: this “wear and tear” disease develops over time and can appear months or years after an injury. Osteoarthritis in the big toe is frequently caused by stubbing the toe or dropping a heavy object on it.

Children who stub their toes may suffer a more serious injury especially in the big toe. Osteomyelitis, an inflammation of the bone, can develop if treatment of a fracture is delayed. A child exhibiting symptoms of a broken toe should be taken to a doctor quickly.

Diagnosing and Treating a Stubbed Toe Injury

In many cases, the pain of a stubbed toe subsides within a day. However, if pain persists, contact the board certified or qualified podiatrists at Your Next Step. We will examine your whole foot for signs of a fracture or any deformity. We can take x-rays right in our offices to determine if there are any broken bones.

If the toe is broken we may tape or splint it and suggest wearing a post-op shoe or boot to keep it stabilized. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, we may recommend surgery. Surgery may also be necessary to remove any bone fragments especially near a joint.

Contact Us for any Injury from a Stubbed Toe

Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen can evaluate the problem right away at our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices. Call us or contact us via the website for an examination. We have extensive experience with stubbed toe injuries, fractures and soft tissue damage and will work to heal your foot right away and get you back on your feet.

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