Types of Toe Injuries
- Cuts, Scrapes and Bruises. These are the most common injuries.
- Jammed Toe. The end of a straightened toe receives a blow. This is usually from stubbing the toe on an object. The energy is absorbed by the joint surface and the injury occurs there. This is called traumatic arthritis.
- Crushed or Smashed Toe. This is usually from something heavy falling on the toe. Sometimes, the nail can be damaged. Fractures are unusual, but are at risk for a bone infection (osteomyelitis).
- Toenail Injury. If the nailbed is cut, it may need sutures to prevent a permanently deformed nail. This is less important for toenails.
- Subungual Hematoma (Blood Clot under the Nail). Most often caused by a crush injury. It can be from a heavy object falling on the nailbed. Many are only mildly painful. Some are severely painful and throbbing. These need the pressure under the nail released. A doctor can put a small hole through the nail to release the blood. This can relieve the pain and prevent loss of the nail.
- Dislocations. The toe has been pushed out of its joint.
- Fractures. Toe has a broken bone. The treatment is the same whether the toe is broken or just bruised. Broken toes are not put in a cast.
Concerns About Missing a Broken Toe
- Most swollen, bruised and painful toes are not broken.
- X-rays are only needed for severe pain and severe injuries.
- If the big toe might be broken, it should be seen by a doctor. The other injured toes generally don't need to be seen.
- A broken great toe is not urgent. It can be checked during office hours.
- The treatment is the same whether or not the toe is broken.
- The treatment of all broken toes is pain medicine and comfortable footwear.
- Mild: your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
- Moderate: the pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities. It may wake him or her up from sleep.
- Severe: the pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.