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What is the Difference Between a Broken Toe and a Sprained Toe?

How to Tell The Difference Between a Broken Toe and a Sprained Toe

Injuring one of your toes is never a good situation. But considering the toes are such small bones within the body, it can difficult to tell when a toe injury is serious or not so bad.

One of the most frequently asked questions among patients is how they can tell the difference between a broken toe or a toe that is simply sprained. As you’ll read, the answer isn’t quite black and white.

Broken Toe vs. Sprained Toe: The Symptoms

The best way to tell the difference between a broken toe and a sprained toe is to look at the symptoms of both. As you’ll see, both injuries have very common symptoms. Take a look:

Broken Toe Symptoms

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Burning or tingling
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased mobility

Jammed Toe Symptoms

  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Throbbing
  • Decreased mobility

Although these symptoms are very similar in each injury, let’s take a look at the defining characteristics. In comparison of the two lists, we can see that bleeding is more common when a toe is broken. One of the clear signs that a toe is broken is extensive bleeding or the development of a subungual hematoma.

Ultimately, a broken toe will almost always produce symptoms that are more serious than a sprain. In either case, a self-misdiagnosis can worsen an injury, so if you have any doubt as to what kind of injury you are dealing with, call your doctor.

What To Do If You Have a Broken Toe

  • Rest your foot
  • Avoid any physical activity that causes your foot pain
  • Ice your toe every 10 – 20 minutes
  • Keep your foot raised to help with the swelling and pain

 

For Broken Toe Treatment: Call Alexander Orthopaedic Associates

At Alexander Orthopaedic Associates, we are passionate about restoring your health. If you are in pain or think you may have broken your toe, contact us.

 

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