This Is How To Tell If Your Toe Is Actually Broken

Whether you suffered a foot injury while playing a sport or stubbed your toe unexpectedly, that shooting pain can be enough to stop you in your tracks. According to Healthline, the first symptom of a broken toe is usually throbbing pain. You may also experience swelling, bruising, or discoloration. Sometimes, a person may even be able to hear the sound of a bone breakage. A broken toe will not be able to bear any weight and moving around is often challenging.

Especially right after the injury, it can be difficult to tell whether a toe is actually broken or just sprained. One way to know the difference is by where the pain is located. A broken toe will cause fairly localized pain at the site of the fracture. With a sprained toe, on the other hand, pain will radiate throughout and around the toe. A broken toe may also result in dislocation. This would cause it to look crooked and unnatural. When a toe is sprained, it may swell but shouldn't appear misshapen.

What to do if your toe is broken

Most times, pain from a stubbed or sprained toe will go away fairly quickly (via Cleveland Clinic). But when it comes to a broken toe, it is best to be treated by a doctor. "Any time you think you may have broken a toe, even though it may seem like a very simple problem, you should be evaluated by a medical professional," says Dominic King, a sports and medical orthopaedist at the Cleveland Clinic. A doctor will be able to tell you if in fact your toe is actually broken and what steps you should take to allow it to fully heal.

While a broken pinky toe may seem minor, King stresses the importance of still seeking medical care. He explains that if the toe has been pushed out of alignment, it needs to be set properly. If this doesn't happen, it won't heal correctly and may cause health issues in the future like arthritis. Typical treatment for a broken toe includes wearing a walking boot for a few weeks. This keeps the toe from moving so the bones can get back in alignment. If your toe is dislocated, surgery may be required.