Medical Q&As

Toe injury - fractured?

My husband stepped on a hard object on the floor, bent his big toe underneath him, and all his weight then went on the toe. The toe is bruised and swollen this morning, and throbbing when he stands upright. If his toe is broken or sprained, I believe they cannot be set like any other broken bones. Is there any point in him visiting a doctor or hospital, or is there advise you can give.

I think it would be worthwhile for your husband to attend his GP. He might have sustained a small flake fracture in one of the phalanges or toe bones. Such injuries can be immobilised in order to permit the fracture to heal naturally. If it is not immobilised the fractured area may not heal properly and the pain could persist for many weeks. Alternatively he may have damaged a ligament or even a tendon. At a very basic level it would be worthwhile establishing a diagnosis if only to predict how long he might expect to continue experiencing pain. In the meantime he should bear weight on the affected foot as little as possible and ideally he should have his leg elevated and supported on another chair or footstool. Keeping the foot in a dependant position will simply facilitate further swelling in the toe with a consequent increase in the level of pain.