You use your toes for just about everything – from walking and running to balance and braking. It’s no wonder then that toe injuries are some of the most common forms of injuries in many people! While some toe injuries are minor and can be treated at home, others are better treated with professional medical attention. You’re better off exercising caution with the following toe injuries and seeing a doctor instead of simply self-treating.
Toe Injuries to Watch Out For
1. Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are the most common type of toe injury. They occur when the ligaments or tendons in the toe are stretched or torn. Symptoms of a sprain or strain include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected toe. Most sprains and strains can be treated at home with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). However, if the pain is severe or if you are unable to move your toe, you should see a doctor.
2. Bone Fractures
Bone fractures (breaks) can occur in any bone in the body, including the toes. Toe fractures are usually caused by direct trauma to the toe, such as dropping something heavy on it or stubbing it against a hard surface. Pain, swelling, bruising, deformity of the affected toe, and inability to move the affected toe typically indicates a bone fracture. If you injured your toe and experience any of these symptoms, it is better to see a doctor to rule out any bone fractures.
2. Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are common foot problems that often occur on the toes. While these are not acute toe injuries, they can occur due to repeated action over a period of time, and cause various symptoms. Corns are small, hard deposits of skin that form when there is excessive pressure on the toes. Calluses are larger areas of hardened skin that usually form on the soles of the feet but can also form on the tops or sides of the toes. Both corns and calluses can be painful, but they are generally not serious. Treatment includes using over-the-counter corn and callus pads or medicated creams to help soften the skin. The issue is when corns and calluses become painful or infected. At this point, do not self-treat any longer. See a doctor for treatment instead.
4. Hammer and Claw Toe
Hammer and claw toe are common deformities of the foot. A hammer toe is a condition where the middle joint of the toe is raised, while a claw toe is one in which the toe is bent at the joint and the end of the toe points upward. Both conditions can be painful, particularly when pressure is applied to the toes. Wearing ill-fitting shoes is one of the main causes of hammer and claw toe, as it can put pressure on the joints and cause them to become misshapen. Treatment for these conditions often includes wearing comfortable shoes and using pads or straps to support the affected toes. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. With proper treatment, most people with hammer and claw toes can enjoy pain-free mobility.
5. Turf Toe
Turf toe occurs when the big toe is hyperextended. This can happen when playing sports or simply walking on uneven ground. Turf toe is a very painful injury that can take weeks or even months to heal completely. The best way to prevent turf toe is to wear shoes that fit well and provide good support when participating in physical activity, as well as taking caution when walking on uneven ground. If you do hyperextend your big toe, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment will help to speed up the healing process.
Seek Treatment with a Foot and Ankle Doctor
When you’ve hurt your toe, the best thing you can do is to visit a doctor to make sure it is not a serious injury. You’ll be able to get a proper diagnosis, treatment options and even learn how to self-treat at home for minor injuries. Are you in pain and wondering whether there’s a foot specialist near me? Look no further than OrthofootMD. Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon and foot and ankle specialist in Singapore. Book an appointment to step in the direction of recovery today!