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Broken Toe Myths

foot xray
Myth #1: “A doctor can’t do anything for a broken toe.”

Although it isn’t true, unfortunately many people believe this myth and never get proper treatment for these injuries. In fact, if a fractured toe or metatarsal bone is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop.


For example:

  • The bones may become deformed, thereby limiting the ability to move the foot or causing difficulty in fitting shoes.

  • If there is a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), arthritis may develop. Arthritis may also be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or hasn’t been properly corrected.

  • An untreated fracture can cause chronic pain and long-term dysfunction.

A fracture that does not heal can lead to the need for surgery


Myth #2: “If you can walk on it, it isn’t broken.”

Many people believe this myth, and will continue to walk after a bone in their foot is fractured…sometimes resulting in even greater damage. Symptoms of a fracture include:

  • Pain at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.

  • Misshapen appearance of the toe.

  • Bruising and selling the next day

In addition to fractures that are caused by trauma to the foot, some people (especially those who participate in athletics or who suffer from osteoporosis) may get a stress fracture in their foot. Although one can walk on a foot that has a stress fracture, these tiny, hairline breaks should not be ignored, because they will come back unless properly treated. You may have a stress fracture if you notice:

  • Pain with or after normal activity

  • Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity

  • Pain at the site of the fracture when touched

  • Swelling, but no bruising

The bottom line is, fractures of the foot require proper treatment. Even if your fracture has been treated in an emergency room, follow-up with our office is advised to avoid improper healing and possible long-term consequences.

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