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How to Reset a Dislocated Toe

Updated on June 6, 2011

The Dislocated Toe Symptoms

Disloction happen more often than one might think. Although this type of injury can be painful, it's usually far better to have a dislocated joint rather than a broken or sprained joint due to the fact that the time to recover from a dislocation is shorter than a sprain and significantly shorter than a broken bone.


The toes and and figures are particularly prone to getting dislocated as they're constantly in use. The toes in particular carry are weight, are used for balanced and have the annoying habit of being on the front of the foot meaning that they're very easy to stub or to bump into something. Many toe injuries are related to sports due to the fact the toe is constantly being buffeted against the front of a shoe.


If you do suspect you have a dislocated toe, it's important to look for the dislocated toe symptoms to make sure you're applying the correct treatment for the injury. Trying to reset a sprained or broken toe is not a good idea. We also recommend you seek the help of a trained physician or sports docor who likely has experience in these matters.


The symptoms of a dislocated toe include: swelling, tenderness and soe bruising. You should be able to move the toe (even if it causes pain). If the swelling severe or there is blood, do not attempt to reset the toe yourself. The most noteable sign of a dislocated toe is that the joint will appear deformed or out of alignment. This usually means you should be be able to manually ease it back into place.


Dislocated Toe

Dislocated Te
Dislocated Te

Dislocated Toe Treatment

If you are going to reset the toe aim to have a friend or assitant to help you in the process. Remain calm and remove the sock and any other covering away from the injured foot. Carefully feel around the joint for the deformation noting and sports of tenderness. If you've got a good sense of feeling you can sometimes tell where the joint is out of the socket and will have a good idea of how to slide it back in. If you can't identify where the dislocated joint should be moving, it would be best to see a doctor.


If you can however, carefully start pullin the toe joint startig halfway up the foot. It's often easier for a friend to perform this but it is possible to do it yourself. Gently tug the toe joint away from the foot in smooth, gentle motions trying to get it in alignment. Don't push yourself too hard. Keep repeatin this action until the injured digit begins to striaghten and then gently, using the same movement, pull the nub of the toe into alignment with the socket. You may feel a slight click or thump as the toe slides into place.


If this is causing serious pain and you don't think you can continue, call a doctor as soon as possible. After the joint as been reset you'll likely need it buddy wrapped or attached to a splint for two to three weeks before you can start to bear your full weight on the toe again. Remember to use your best judgement and never push yourself too hard.

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    • profile image

      Nadia Babyonyshev 11 months ago

      Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      Jacob 23 months ago

      I dislocated my pinky toe and it is obviously dislocated but not to serious just slightly bending but it hurts really bad. My dad ( he's physical therapist) tried to reset it back in place by pulling it is still dislocated. It's been like this for almost 15 hours what should I do? Bc my parents are giving me the feeling that the doctor is the absolute last option....

    • profile image

      Mercedes 2 years ago

      I found this article very informative.

      I dislocated the forth toe of my right foot a week ago tomorrow. I was able to reset it back in place but I had extreme pain so I went for an XRay the doctor said I did okay and that it didn't look like I had a hairline fracture, which is what I thought was causing this pain. I took two days off work that doctor recommend and I'm taking the pain meds, the brushing is even going away But it still really hurts a lot when I walk?

      I expected to be better but read here it could take 3 weeks? Is this normal?

    • profile image

      Lauri 3 years ago

      I did this just now and it worked! I really appreciate this post. Thanks! I thought it was broken but upon further discovery, i realized it was dislocated. I followed your instructions and things are much better. I will keep it wrapped while it heals tho. Not everyone has health insurance (still) so home remedies are sometimes a great option. Thanks again for the post.

    • samihipendo profile image

      Samuil Hippi 3 years ago from Samoah

      I like the fact you mentioned people should seek for professional help. It is always the right choice since there are cases when you can actually make your injury even worse...

    • profile image

      person with dislocated toe 5 years ago

      I am 12 and i have dislocated many of my toes and fingers and it may hert to pull the toe yourself but after you put it back into place put some ice on it and the swelling will go down.

    • profile image

      lacanilaorthopedics 5 years ago

      that's a good advice .....thanks for the info...coz my friend is actually in that situation....

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