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Tips For Treating a Broken Little Toe


That Hurt Didn't It?

When you think about it breaking the little toe should happen more often. It's the part of the body furthest from the head and is often the part moving the fastest in a sea of obstacles. So it's a minor miracle that it doesn't happen more often. BUT, when it does happen, the pain is second to none.

To Run or Stay Put

Once the big event has occurred the next question is 'what do you do next?'. Your first impulse, naturally, would be to go to your doctor or even the hospital. Having been in this predicament more than 3 times the answer is neither of these two. It is in fact self help and home treatment.

I would like to add one caveat though; all my toe breaks were straight forward. If your toe is making a break for it at an odd angle I think it needs a correction officer to bring it back in line.

Also, be patient. Depending on your pain threshold it could take up to 24 hours before you can start handling your toe. There are some key steps though which help to reduce that time significantly.

1 - Rest

This one will probably come easily i.e. you won't want to be doing anything that might move the pain festival at the end of your leg.  By the way, you'll be surprised at how much pain there will be if you try to hop, even on the other foot!

2 - Ice

You'll have noticed very quickly that a number of changes were occurring at the impact site.  Firstly, the color of the skin has changed rapidly to a black / blue / green / red hue.  Secondly, the toe will have doubled in size.  This last one, if left untreated, can extend the time it takes for the pain to subside.  Icing the toe for 15-20 minutes every hour to help reduce the swelling. 

3 - Elevate

This one has the same effect, although not as much, as applying ice.  Gravity will do its best to reduce the blood flow and therefore reduce the swelling.


After The Pain Festival

You won't believe it at the time but the pain will eventually subside. When it does this will be your chance to strap up the toe. As the little toe is so small finding a splint is going to be a challenge. In the past I've used cardboard and ice-cream sticks but my current favorite is cotton wool.

Buddy splinting, and that's doesn't require your best friend, is the method of using the next tow to keep your broken toe straight. Simply place the splint between the toes and lightly tape them together. Don't do the tape too tight or the pain festival starts again!

And then the waiting game begins. How long it takes to heal 'depends' on so many factors that it's impossible to quantify. Take heart that it will. Oh, and as someone who has been here way too many times, learn your lesson the first time. It doesn't get any easier because you're more experienced at it :)


Nat on July 25, 2015:

2nd time in 6 months I've broken my pinky toe on my left foot , same bone . I went to the hospital bc of course I was freaking out , but the boot does not help at all ! I re broke it just yesterday and I can't take it any more.. didn't know it could hurt this bad , the first "break" was a fracture . But my doctor told me 6-8 weeks to heal..

Lexie on September 16, 2014:

HELP! My baby toe and his buddy are broken. . . Can the buddy system become a three-way including Sir. Middle Toe? Do I include a cotton barrier between Buddy and Sir. Middle, as well? Broken toes are not the biz. Don'y do yoga drunk, kids.

Samuil Hippi from Samoah on September 08, 2014:

You never know how something that small can hurt so bad until you break it!

I addressed similar topic in my post about running with a broken toe. If anyone is interested, feel free to check it out-

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Joy on September 07, 2014:

Last week I broke another toe - this time my small toe on left foot. A few months ago it was my right big toe. Yes the pain is agony with a broken toe. Thanks for the advice about foot up, rest and ice. It is the only cure unfortunately and it does take time. I live in a tropical place so don't need shoes and this is part of the problem. My toes are too exposed. So, when this toe is mended, I'll be wearing closed-in sandals.

Yesssenia on August 22, 2014:

Hello I broke my toe while playing with my brother and I wasn't looking where I was going and I crashed into the wall , and yes it hurts really bad

mary on August 04, 2014:

I think I just broke my lit.toe on left foot it hurts all the way up into my leg not going to doctor but if the pain continues in foot and leg area I will have to go I guess

Aleksander Morozov on July 06, 2014:

I broke mine yesterday night, and like all of you have said, the pain is nearly unbearable! I've broken my hand before, but this is far worse due to the essential need for me to use my foot constantly. I have baseball practice tomorrow and Thursday plus a tournament this weekend! It's my team's last tournament of the season, and I look bad skipping practice. What do I do?

Amanda on February 16, 2014:

Just broke my toe by kicking the bed. Our ER always either over exaggerates or doesn't do anything. So we decided to just sit it up and wait it out... So it was nice to see that others agree!

Bernadette on May 31, 2013:

I too have broken right little toe and as it was only today am in total agony. I have had a knee replacement 3 mths ago on the same leg and I don't remember it being this painful....that could be brcause I was on morphine for that but even so after I came off that, 3 days after the op, it never felt like this. I would feel such a wimp if I went to the doctor for this, she would think I had developed some sort of hypochondria. I have been using ice etc but I do need to go to work tomorrow and have not idea about footwear. What am I to wear. I can hardly go barefoot :)

36red on July 22, 2012:

I think my little too on my right foot is broken. I was preping my tile floors getting ready to beach my tile and I have a cast iron planter fall over and bounced off my little toe. You are right, the pain is rediculous and it has not gotten better, only worse & has been 5 days. Have been icing it but if I push it forward to see what happens, 4 tiny lumps appear that resemble a bite but isn't. I have too much responsibility to rest, and prop it up, I can only apply ice at bedtime, but I sure thought after 5 days this jinormous pain would leave as I have been seriouly injured in my life and pain never bothered me like this toe does. Can you break a little toe in multiple places? I think mine is crushed. I am tired of the advil but don't have any ideas on getting it to quit throbbing! Its real red and major swolen. Now should I see a doctor? I have always been tough, a doctor's visit will make me look like a whimp, But it has gotten worse everyday! Shoes are not an option now! Hurts too bad!!

Marilyn on June 22, 2012:

Thank you, very helpful!!

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on April 13, 2011:

Hi and welcome to Hub Pages. Great hub and really useful information. Glad that this has not happened to me - yet - but will keep your info for future reference. Many thanks for sharing.

Golfgal from McKinney, Texas on April 13, 2011:

Hi Silohouette, My little toe went astray a couple times years ago. As long as it is not broken in two or protruding, all the doctor will do is what you did. I went to doc and came home with my toe taped. that little bugger hurt like the dickens. Luckily summer is here and no shoe is required. Welcome to hubpages, nice job. voted up and useful. Peace.

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