If you think you have a broken toe, you should see a doctor. A badly broken toe can cause serious issues, and may require resetting, or in some cases a special shoe or casting in order to help the toe properly heal. However, frequently, doctors do not cast the foot, and the toe does not require resetting. In these cases, you may simply have to live with the pain of the break for several weeks.
Some simple home treatments for a fractured toe can help reduce pain. First, as much as possible, minimize standing or walking. If walking or standing proves very painful, consider renting or purchasing crutches or a cane to minimize the weight one has to put on the toe.
Also plan to wear comfortable shoes with a wide toe box. Do not wear high heels if you have a fractured toe, since much of the weight of the body is distributed onto the toes. This is likely to result in quite a bit of pain, and may lengthen the time it takes for the break to heal. Covered shoes are often a better choice than sandals because they provide a little extra toe protection. However, some people prefer to wear a sandal because it feels more comfortable.
During the first week after you have been diagnosed with a broken toe, ice the toe 15-20 minutes every one to two hours to minimize swelling. Keeping the foot elevated may also keep swelling down.
When sleeping at night, the foot should be propped up on pillows to continue elevation. Many people find it is most comfortable to sit in a recliner, which helps stabilize the foot and keeps it elevated. Others may use a chaise lounge, or an ottoman. However, when possible, the broken toe should be elevated to above chest level.
Prior to beginning exercise again, check back with your doctor. A broken toe can take a while to heal, up to six weeks. Some have residual pain after this time. It’s important to ascertain whether this pain is the result of damaged nerves or ligaments around the toe, or a failure of the fracture to heal properly. The doctor will probably want to verify by x-ray that one can use the toe for strenuous exercise.
It is especially important for people with diabetes to have any breaks in the feet overseen by a doctor. Foot infections are quite common in diabetics and injuries can result in severe complications. A diabetic may require antibiotics or other treatments to avoid infections.