Stubbing your toe onto an immobile object can cause excruciating pain. It can be debilitating and immobilize you for a few days. It is quite easy to distinguish between a sprained toe and a broken toe. A sprained toe will swell immediately and keep on being swollen for a few days. The pain will be felt all over the toe and surrounding flesh. A broken toe on the other hand will still swell but will soon turn black and blue. If you suspect that you toe is broken and you cannot stand the pain then you should seek medical attention and get an X-ray to determine the severity of the fracture. Otherwise there are some home remedies that you can do to treat a broken or sprained toe, which is almost the same as the treatment that you will receive from your doctor or podiatrist.
- Immediately ice your toe that has been sprained or broken to reduce the swelling. Do not apply a hot compress as this will cause the blood to flow more to your toes and cause it to swell more.
- Elevate your foot to regulate the flow of blood to your toes. This will help to minimize the swelling and you will be able to walk soon after. Try to stay off your foot for longer periods until the swelling has subsided. Wear open-toed footwear to reduce the pressure on your toes.
- A broken toe should be placed in a splint to immobilize it and keep your toe straight. You can use two popsicle sticks cut into the length of your toe. Place on splint on top of your toe and the other underneath and bind your toe with plaster or strapping tape. Taping your broken toe to another will also help in immobilizing and keeping your toe straight. This is called buddy taping and is usually very effective at providing support to a broken toe.
- Take a pain reliever to help with the pain as well as reduce the swelling on your sprained or broken toe. Apply liniment to your sprained toe to help relieve the pain and swelling. There are several effective liniments that you can use. You may want to try the spray liniment that is used by athletes. They are more suited to sports injuries than other commercial anti-inflammatory preparations suitable for general use.
- You can take your baths regularly provided you change the dressing on the broken toe every time you’ve had your bath. Check the condition of the broken toe. If it does not seem to be healing properly, it will be best to have it checked by a podiatrist.
The healing of your sprained or broken toe is dependent on your body condition and how you have taken care of your foot. Normally it may take up to four weeks before you will be able to wear regular shoes. Although you can be mobile even with a sprained or broken toe, it is wise to take precaution and elevate your foot when you are resting or sleeping and continue to apply liniment and changing the splint and bandage.