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"I broke my toe . . ."


Personal stories and videos about toe fractures

This is a photo of my left foot, taken April 27th, 2010. Notice how the fourth toe is pointing in a different and unnatural direction compared to the other digits on my foot. I broke my toe, and it's not the first time this has happened to me.

So I decided to make this web page dedicated to first hand accounts of broken toes. Misery loves company, I guess.

So here's how I broke my toe

The story of my left fourth toe fracture

I'm a fast walker. On the morning of April 27th, 2010, I was walking through the dining area of our house when my foot collided with the leg of a heavy dining-room chair. It hurt a lot, and the first thing that came to my mind was that I really hoped it wasn't broken. I tried to go on about my business, but I could tell that the pain was increasing instead of decreasing (that's always the tell-tale sign for me). I hadn't actually looked down at my foot when the accident first happened, but I finally looked down and saw that instead of pointing north, my fourth toe was taking a detour to the northwest.

My 10-year-old son was nearby, so I used it as an opportunity for some homeschooling. Here are the points that were covered:

  • He got to see what a fractured toe looks like.
  • We talked about how bones heal, why casts are helpful and how fractured toes are treated by taping the broken toe to its neighbor.
  • I explained the idea of medical triage - how if Mommy went to the Emergency Room, she might face a long wait because dying people take priority over people with broken toes.
  • This experience also reinforced something we already knew. JG's destiny in life will probably not be the practice of medicine. He couldn't watch when I got to the point of actually taping my toe.
  • I'm limping around the house now, but still taking care of business. I'm telling myself that this also counts as teaching important values of courage and not feeling sorry for oneself, as well as the value of not being a klutz.

A one-question quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What activity will a working mother forgo because of a broken toe?
    • Going to her day job.
    • Household duties like grocery shopping, cooking, child care.
    • Shipping product for her online business.
    • Handling communications for her husband's business.
    • None of the above.

Answer Key

  1. None of the above.

Poll - Have you had a broken toe?

Some broken toe videos

Yes, there are a lot of broken toe videos on YouTube. Hear some other victims share their stories.

(Just so ya know, there are some other entertaining toe fracture videos that I couldn't use here because they include words that you can't say on TV. I also stayed away from the ones where the toe-breaking incident happened on camera.)

Spiritual lessons from a toe fracture?

There are some healing traditions that encourage us to look at any physical or emotional health problem and ask ourselves, "What in this problem could be beneficial and healing for me and for the world?" So how about a broken toe? Is there anything in it that can make me or the world better?

Lesson of the broken toe: Slow down and be more aware.I was reading a blog post where the blogger had a history similar to mine -- she has had numerous toe fractures. She said that breaking a toe is a message to her that she needs to slow down and pay more attention.

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I can definitely relate to that. As I said at the top of this page, I'm a fast walker. If the lesson for me is to take things slower and be more attentive to my surroundings, the broken toe causes this to happen immediately because I have to walk slowly while it's mending.

The fracture has also made it necessary for me to tell my children to be more attentive. My kids have a habit of stepping on my feet and barely noticing it. Sometimes I would complain about it and sometimes I wouldn't. But now it's imperative for me to tell them to be careful of Mommy's feet.

A broken toe music video!

When I was a kid, I remember hearing someone joking on TV that if a country singer broke his toe, he would write a song about it. Well, one of the members of the southern gospel group Gold City broke a toe, and his bandmates wrote a parody song and made a video about it. Here's "God Bless My Broken Toe" by Gold City.

Why I don't go to the doctor for broken toes anymore

Once you know how toe fractures are treated (it's officially called "buddy taping"), you don't so much see the point of going to the ER (possibly with children in tow), paying a co-pay, and waiting to be seen just so that they can do something you could have easily done at home.

I've never had a fracture that included broken skin or bruising, so I have been comfortable with assuming the risk of self-diagnosis and self-treatment. But I'm not taking responsibility for anyone else's decision

Buddy taping a broken toe - Elizabeth tapes Eben's broken pinky toe

This video shows how simple buddy taping is.

© 2010 Joan Hall

Share your own fractured toe stories here!

tonyaalves3 on October 17, 2013:

Never had a broken toe, but my sister broke her finger and never took care of it. So she had a crooky ring finger

anonymous on April 16, 2013:

I haven't had a broken toe; but, I've had a broken wrist. This is interesting, though. I hope I never need the advice on this one.

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 03, 2012:

I have never broken a toe, but I have had different injuries... The most important thing in this kind of situation is in my opinion not to loose a spirit. I see you handled your problem pretty good:)

Fay Favored from USA on May 03, 2012:

Can relate to your story but not with a toe. I love your ideas for articles. So much fun and creative.

Joan Haines on December 31, 2011:

I'm just guessing that I broke my toe. My 2nd toe was swollen and ouchy for weeks. It was from the same kind of stubbing that you did! Loved your quiz about what activities you would forego because of your hurt tootsie.

Katemcm on September 14, 2011:

not a broken toe -but an ankle. My friend broke her toe two days later. Broken bones anywhere = no fun at all

cwkerns lm on July 25, 2011:

Fortunate enough never to have broken my toes.

Joan Hall (author) from Los Angeles on April 17, 2011:

@MyCrazyAdventures: Ouch! I've never fractured a BIG toe. That must be awful.

But I know what you mean about shoe issues. Sometimes I went to church wearing one dress shoe and one sneaker.

Melissa from Albuquerque, NM on April 17, 2011:

Big toe, right foot, November of 1999. Took two years for it to stop hurting completely even with a doctor's help.

How? Joking around with friends and got flipped over a modular sofa. The sections of the sofa were not tied together. The unit flipped back with my weight throwing me back with it and when my feet hit the floor the angle was off and it pushed the toe forward too far....snap!

I was job hunting at the time. Ever job interviewed with a broken toe? Your shoe selection is very limited because of your swollen toe.

Rose Jones on March 24, 2011:

Adorable lens. Talk about turning lemons to lemonade!

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on March 12, 2011:

Very nice way to turn a toe injury into lessons in life. I've hit my toes on furniture many times, but thankfully have never had a broken toe. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 17, 2011:

I admire how you made good use of the injury to make a lesson for your child and to give information to the rest of the world.

Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on January 08, 2011:

In the last two years both my husband and I broke the second toe on our right foot. I kicked the steel leg under the bed and he tripped. A match made in heaven! For both of us it seemed like it took forever to heal and is very easy to injure again while trying to get it to heal.

Eliza Rayner from Boulder, Colorado on December 05, 2010:

What a great idea for a page! Here are my two latest broken toe stories. Just last Firday night my son, who is only 4, tried to grab the cat. Instead he grabbed a 5 lb barbell and dropped it onto his toe, ouch! poor little guy, broken little toe. For me, just last year I kicked the bed frame, not with my toes but the sapce between the last two little toes and broke both of them. it was super painful and my whole foot turned black and blue!

Barbara Isbill from New Market Tn 37820 on October 11, 2010:

Mighty enjoyable lens. But I had to have mine amputated. Wasn't funny then! But it was full of lessons!

anonymous on September 25, 2010:

I was so caught up in writing my post, I forgot the most important thing, why I dropped by.... congratulations on your Purple Star! - Kathy

anonymous on September 25, 2010:

As Rick says, "graceful is not my middle name", I move too quickly, have too much on my mind, and don't pay attention to what I am doing or where I am going, I often "walk into things" LOL I did a major boo-boo last year, and my foot has still not healed, I really must try to get my Dr to take this seriously!

missbat on September 25, 2010:

Ouchie! I'm sure that hurt, but you've learned a valuable lesson as well as made a lens out of it!

Tarra99 on September 03, 2010:

OUCH!...I'm glad to say (knock wood) that I've never broken any bones...I hear toes can be particularly painful and take longer to heal...hope all is well now. Love that you took from the experience a spiritual lesson! :o)

Joan Hall (author) from Los Angeles on September 01, 2010:

@paperfacets: I have had the experience of not taping a fractured toe and it still healed and looked OK. I guess we're rolling the dice if we don't tape them.

Glad you found the information useful. Here's hoping that neither of us goes through it again.

Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on September 01, 2010:

The broken toe I suffered I did not tape. Now it is cocked in the wrong direction. Does taping to the next toe really prevent this from happening? Thank you for the advice. Never know it might happen again.

poutine on August 22, 2010:

Yes, I had 2 broken toes in my far.

Very painful but kept doing what I had to do.

clouda9 lm on August 19, 2010:

Owee! and Cringe! Hope all is better now, enjoyed reading "the lesson" in this lens! Congrats on your purple star :)

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on August 19, 2010:

i've had numerous toe fractures of the two smallest toes on both feet! Like you, I just buddy tape and keep going, but my God, the pain for awhile. Ice right away while propping it up seems to keep the swelling down:)

WhiteOak50 on August 19, 2010:

OMG!! I know that had to of hurt, hope it is all healed now. I have thought many times I have broken a toe but instead just did some real good bruising. Congratulations on your purple star!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on May 05, 2010:

I broke my big toe just before we left for a trip across the country to join my husband in the Boston area in July. I was driving, and it was my right toe. A lot of hikes were planned. You haven't lived until you've done the history walk in Boston with a broken toe in an orthopedic shoe on one foot. There was no way I was going to miss this trip, since it was a major part of the year's history curriculum for our home school. That's in a lens I will write some other time. I'm still in doubt as to whether the toe was actually broken. My internist X-rayed it and said it wasn't. But she sent me to the podiatrist for massage, and other treatments she thought would make it feel better before the trip. The podiatrist took another X-ray and said it was broken. They soaked it and wrapped it and gave me the shoe and some instructions for caring for it during the trip. A couple of years after that, the podiatrist was prosecuted for insurance fraud. I know the toe was not badly broken because the pain was tolerable. But it still put a damper on that walk through Boston.

Wendy Henderson from PA on April 30, 2010:

I broke my pinkie toe years ago and it hurt awful!

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