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Toe Fracture

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Toe Fracture

(Broken Toe; Fracture, Toe)


A toe fracture is a break in a toe bone.

The Phalanges of the Foot.

Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=49284928si55550259.jpgsi55550259.jpgNULLjpgPhalangesNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\si55550259.jpgNULL14NULL2003-04-162543904928_11500Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


A toe fracture is caused by trauma from:

  • Dropping something on the toe
  • Stubbing the toe
  • Falls
  • Severe twists
  • Severe bending of a bone

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of a toe fracture are:

  • Playing contact sports
  • Health problems that may cause falls, such as nerve or muscle problems
  • Not wearing shoes


Symptoms may be:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Noises when moving the toe, such as grinding and cracking
  • Problems moving the toe
  • Problems walking


The doctor will ask about symptoms, past health, and how the injury happened. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.

Pictures of the foot may be taken. This can be done with x-ray.


It can take 4 to 8 weeks to heal. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.


Most fractures are due to accidents. They may be prevented using saftey measures.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through either of the following:

  • Carefully moving the bones and using tension to align them. Anesthesia will be given help to manage pain.
  • Surgery to reconnect bone sections with pins or screws. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.




  • Toe and forefoot fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00165.
  • Toe phalanx fracture—emergency. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/toe-phalanx-fracture-emergency-management.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.