The term phalanx refers to the bones of the fingers and toes. The big toe has a proximal (first bone) and distal phalanx (closest to fingernail) whilst all the other toes have a proximal, middle and distal phalanx. The toes are a commonly fractured part of the body and most toe fractures result from a traumatic onset e.g kicking an object or dropping something heavy on them.
The good news is if you end up with a toe fracture the majority can be managed conservatively and will heal quite quickly.
To better understand how to manage toe fractures we will look at the main fracture types.
Toe fractures can be undisplaced, displaced, combined with a dislocation and also intra-articular. In order to best visualise a fracture an Xray with AP, lateral and oblique views is suggested.
Simple, Non-Displaced Toe Fracture
For the most simple fractures (undisplaced) a boot/ortho shoe should be used when pain with walking causes an altered walking pattern otherwise buddy strapping the toe is also possible. The time to heal can take around 4 weeks.
Other Toe Fracture Types
For all other fracture types (displaced, dislocated and intra-articular) with a visual deformity it is often necessary for your Physiotherapist to realign (reduce) the fracture to its optimal position then place you in a boot/ortho shoe for around 4-6 weeks.
Depending on your fracture and your pain you may be required to use crutches as well and not weight bear for a period of time. Some use of buddy strapping may also be needed during the healing stages or later on when trying to return to sport or leisure activities.
The occasions where an orthopaedic referral may be required when managing a toe fracture is when it involves the big toe and usually as a more severe fracture that would require stabilisation. Ongoing pain in a toe fracture can indicate other surrounding soft tissue damage has been caused or in some cases a fracture which has not healed.
Our Physiotherapists will do a physical assessment of your toe and help you understand how much damage has been caused and what management plan you require.
The key to getting a good result and returning to full function is early management. Activate Physiotherapy offer same day appointments to attend their fracture clinic to ensure your fracture is managed with the best management from the start. Following your Xray our Physiotherapists will fit you into a moon boot or orthopaedic shoe or apply a buddy strap.
Most toe fractures will require immobilisation for between 4-6 weeks. Our approach is unique and our physiotherapists understand the importance of integrating your rehab during the healing process and will assist you with a rehabilitation program at the various stages of your healing journey. This reduces the complications that often occur from toe fractures.
How to Make a Fracture Clinic Appointment
No Xray? No problem!
We can arrange bulk-billed xrays to confirm diagnosis and monitor healing.
Need your cast removed?
We can help with that too! We are able to remove backslabs and full plaster or polyester casts