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Could your stubbed toe actually be broken?

You wake up in the morning, still drowsy and attempting to mentally map out your entire day, you step too close to a piece of furniture on your way to the kitchen … and the next thing you know, you’re grabbing your toe in pain.

It has happened to all of us, even to those who claim to have perfect coordination.

The pain felt from stubbing your toe can be unbearable given that the area is packed densely with nerve endings. Additionally, each of your toes consists of several small bones, which can break or become disjointed in the process.

After the initial pain subsides, however, it can become easier to go about our day and move past the immense pain that briefly felt like it would never end. However, what if the pain doesn’t go away? While most incidents in which you stub your toe result in no injury, there are times when a stubbed toe needs to be treated.

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect system for identifying if you have a broken toe or a stubbed toe, but the easiest way is to look for the symptoms of a broken one.

Here are a few warning signs that your toe could be broken:

— If you hear a sound – typically a popping sound — at the moment of impact

— If the pain lasts more than a few hours

— If your toe has a crooked or bent appearance

— If your toe looks bruised or swollen

— A discoloration of the toenail

— Blood or bone protrusions

A “wait and see” approach to a stubbed toe is appropriate in most cases, but a doctor should be contract if you believe that your toe may be broken as a fracture near a joint can lead to arthritis if left untreated. To know where the toe is broken, a doctor or medical professional will likely take an x-ray to gain a better idea of what treatment is required.

If it is confirmed that your toe is broken, a recovery time of 4-8 weeks can be expected.

Follow Delray Beach Podiatry on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472



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