Care Tips for a Badly Stubbed Toe

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Stubbed toes. Pretty much everyone has dealt with this very painful sensation. Often, we wonder if we broke a toe in those first excruciating moments, but in most cases, we’re only looking at a minor injury. Pain from a stubbed toe typically subsides in a matter of minutes. But what about those times when the injury is more than a quickly forgettable incident?

If you have suffered a stubbed toe, your toe may show sign of bruising or swelling without any deep injury beneath the surface. You may also have slight toe discoloration, including a blood stain appearing under the toenail.

Whether you walked into a door, a piece of furniture, or any other heavy or immovable object that you wish you had avoided, here are some care tips for dealing with a stubbed toe. Normally, minor injuries like this will heal on their own; these tips will relieve symptoms and enhance recovery and healing.

  1. Disinfect by washing – This is an important first step, particularly if there are abrasions/cuts in the skin, or breaks in the nail. Dry the toe with a clean towel and then apply anti-bacterial cream over breaks in the skin. If necessary, apply a bandage.
  2. Apply ice pack – Applying ice to the affected toe will reduce swelling. To do this, wrap the ice pack in a towel and apply on the toe for approximately 15 minutes. Do not apply ice directly to the skin to avoid frostbite. Be especially cautious if you suffer from neuropathy or loss of sensation in the affected area.
  3. Reduce pressure on the toe – This might come as a natural instinct or a way of avoiding pain. As much as possible, shift weight off the toe towards your heel while walking or when standing. As soon as there is a reduction in swelling, you can a gel cushion to reduce pain while walking. If you can take your shoes off, do so.
  4. Avoid stressful physical activity – Resuming a physical activity like sports can worsen your injury and aggravate the pain. So stay away from any physically demanding activity until the pain has subsided, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes.
  5. Elevate the toe – Lay down and prop up the leg on a raised surface like a pillow to elevate it above the heart level. This will reduce swelling of the affected toe more efficiently.
  6. Take medication – If the pain is unbearable, and if your doctor has cleared you for NSAIDs like ibuprofen, you can consider taking an OTC painkiller. However, pain form a stubbed toe usually diminishes quickly enough to make this unnecessary.

A stubbed toe does not usually constitute a medical emergency. However, if you suffer from a medical condition like diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, osteochondromas or arthritis, you may want to consult your physician or podiatrist to be on the safe side. Call Houston Foot and Ankle Care for expert podiatric treatment to address any of your foot care needs. We accept most major forms of medical insurance.

Call (713) 541-3199 if you experience:

  • persistent pain from stubbed toe
  • bleeding from toe or toenail
  • numbness or tingling in toes

Houston Foot and Ankle