Toe Sprain

A toe sprain is caused by a partial tear of the ligaments that support a toe. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.

  • Causes

    Toe sprains may be caused by:

    • Excessive tension
    • Trauma
    The Toes (Phalanges) of the Foot
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  • Definition

    A toe sprain is caused by a partial tear of the ligaments that support a toe. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your toe. Your toe will be examined to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.

    Images may need to be taken of your toe. This can be done with:

    • X-rays
    • MRI scan

    Toe sprains are graded according to ligament damage. The more ligaments damaged, the more severe the injury.

  • Prevention

    Often, toe sprains cannot be prevented. However, to reduce your risk of getting a sprained toe, wear stiff-soled athletic shoes when playing sports.

    Proper treatment of toe sprains can help prevent long-term complications or problems with the toe joint, such as misalignment and immobility.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your risk of getting a toe sprain include:

    • Stubbing your toe into something when walking barefoot or while wearing sandals
    • Stopping suddenly when running, causing a toe to jam into the end of your shoe
    • Landing awkwardly from a jump, causing a toe to jam into the end of your shoe

    • Sports such as:

      • Football
      • Soccer
      • Rugby
      • Basketball
      • Running
    • Wearing inappropriate footwear for an activity
    • Dancing
    • Poor coordination
    • Rough ground

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Pain and tenderness in the toe
    • Pain when moving the toe
    • Swelling and bruising of the toe

  • Treatment

    Treatment includes: