Broken Toes and Metatarsal Fractures
Painful toe breaks are usually the result of a stubbing injury. Often referred to as a bed post fracture, the toe typically hits the side solid object like a table leg or bed post and is rotated sideways causing a fracture to occur. If you have ever experienced one, you know they can be VERY painful due to the high density of sensory nerve fibers located in the toes that help the brain to know where your feet are when you are walking.
Metatarsal fractures are common, especially at the base of the fifth metatarsal. In most cases, the fracture occurs from some type of trauma including an ankle sprain, a fall, or landing on the foot wrong. Most metatarsal fractures heal without surgery.
However, there is an area of the fifth metatarsal which is notorious for non-healing due to reduced circulation to that particular segment of bone. This type of metatarsal fracture, called a "Jones Fracture," may require surgery (see below for more information).
Treatments for a fractured or broken toe
The treatment for a minimally displaced and stable toe fracture is usually to “buddy-tape” or splint the fractured and adjacent toe, in a corrected position. This can be supplemented with a protective hard-bottomed post op shoe. In rare cases, the toe may be dislocated and need to be re-aligned before it is splinted. Metatarsal fractures that are out of position or not healing usually require a simple surgery with screws and/or plate fixation and a period of no walking while wearing a cast. In some cases, Dr. Perler may also recommend the use of a bone growth stimulator or may suggest regenerative medicine to aid in the healing of the fracture.