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 :)