Toe Fracture

A toe fracture is a break in a toe bone. The bones in the toes are called phalanges.

  • Causes

    A toe fracture is caused by trauma to the bone. Trauma can result from:

    • Dropping something on your toe
    • Stubbing your toe
    • Falling down
    • Direct blow to the toe

  • Definition

    A toe fracture is a break in a toe bone. The bones in the toes are called phalanges.

    The Phalanges of the Foot
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms, level of physical activity, how the injury occurred, and will examine the injured area. Your doctor may take an x-ray of the foot, but this is not always needed.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of toe fractures, take these steps:

    • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
    • Wear proper fitting and appropriate shoes for any activity.
    • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.
    • Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises regularly to build strong bones.

    To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:

    • Clean spills and slippery areas right away
    • Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter
    • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower
    • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub
    • Put in handrails on both sides of stairways
    • Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls
    • Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of a toe fracture include:

    • Advanced age
    • Osteoporosis
    • Poor nutrition
    • Participating in contact sports
    • Not wearing shoes

  • Symptoms

    A toe fracture may cause:

    • Pain
    • Swelling and tenderness
    • Stiffness in the injured area
    • Inability to move toe
    • Bruising in injured area
    • Numbness or tingling in the toes
    • Visible deformity in the toe area
    • Difficulty walking (sometimes)

  • Treatment

    Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with your toe, such as immobility or misalignment. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include: