Non-surgical Treatment for Toe Fractures
Toe fractures that are reasonably well aligned and do not need straightening can be treated with “buddy-taping” and a hard soled post-operative shoe. These injuries will usually take four to six weeks to heal before the patient can transition comfortably into wide sneakers. Swelling may persist for up to a year.
The orthopedic foot and ankle specialist may recommend that the toe fracture be straightened if it is too angulated. This can be done in the office or emergency room using local anesthetic injections to numb the broken toe. The numb toe is then straightened manually and buddy-taped to the neighboring toe. X-rays are repeated to make sure that the alignment has improved.
Surgical Treatment for Toe Fractures
Surgery is necessary only if the fractured toe cannot be kept straight or if the fracture goes into the joint surface where the toe bends. Fractures involving the joint can lead to arthritis if not treated correctly. The broken bone and joint are re-aligned and held in position by either pins or screws.
Surgical treatment for toe fractures is also recommended for open or compound fractures that have broken through the skin. These cases can lead to bone infection if not washed out urgently. After cleaning the wound thoroughly, the toe is usually held straight with a pin that is removed later.