Can a Broken Toe Heal on Its Own?

A broken toe is an extremely painful injury. The toe may swell and bruise, and it’s possible that blood will pool beneath the toenail.

Injuries to a toe can be caused by a sudden force (as in a fall or a blow) or by repeated stress, such as when walking. A fracture is most likely to occur in the big toe, but can happen in any toe.

Pain and swelling should decrease within a few days to a week. However, if pain and swelling persist, it is necessary to call your doctor.

X-rays can be helpful in diagnosing a broken toe, especially if it is located in one of the smaller toes. The doctor will also be able to determine if the fracture is displaced or rotated. If the fracture is displaced, it will require a procedure called reduction in order to put it back into place.

If the fracture is not displaced, it will most likely heal on its own and without any intervention. It may take 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover from a broken toe, but you will be able to resume normal activities as soon as the injury has healed.

There are some things that you can do at home to help reduce the pain and swelling and promote healing. These include elevating your foot as much as you can and applying ice packs. You can also apply a towel between your skin and the ice pack to protect your skin from the cold.

Avoid putting pressure on your injured toe or moving it when it’s tender. If you do, it can cause the toe to swell and become worse, which can prolong the healing process.

To ease pain, your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Your provider may also recommend a corticosteroid cream or spray to relieve inflammation.

Taking your medicine as directed is very important. Taking too little or too much of the medication can make the condition worse. Talk to your physician before taking any new medications.

You can usually walk on your toe after it has healed, but you should avoid wearing tight shoes until your doctor approves. Depending on the location of your toe fracture, your doctor may suggest a special shoe or boot for walking or a crutch.

Your toe will need time to regain its strength and flexibility, which will allow it to move properly again. You may experience some stiffness, which can be reduced with physical therapy.

When you’re ready to walk again, your doctor may recommend a special shoe or boot for walking, which will reduce the amount of pressure on your toe. This will help your toe heal faster and prevent recurrence of the injury.

Buddy taping can also be used to keep your toe supported and protected. Your doctor will place tape on your toe and the adjacent toe for support while you recover.

If the fracture is a severe one, your doctor may need to set your toe bone. They will place the bone into its proper position, sometimes using a numbing medicine to reduce the pain before setting it.