Featured Post

Thinking About Foot Surgery? Ten Things You Need To Think About BEFORE You Have Foot Surgery.

Ten Things You Need To Think About BEFORE  You Have Foot Surgery. 1. You need to exhaust conservative treatment before you decide...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Recommended Shoes for Broken Toes -- and how to PROPERLY treat a broken toe!

Shoe Recommendations 
for Broken Toes
and how to properly treat a broken toe!

It is a common myth that there is no treatment for a broken toes. 

Many time, I have had patients say to me, "I was told that there is no treatment for a broken toe." 

This is completely false. 

This article will tell you what to do if you think you broke your toe, what can happen if you do not get proper treatment for a broken toe and what are the best things to do if you think you broke your toe but you do not have access to a doctor. It will also have shoe recommendations that will help heal the broken toe faster and with much less pain. 

First, if you think that you broke a toe, I highly recommend that you make an appointment with your local podiatrist who will be able to evaluate and diagnose your toe pain as well as take foot x-rays, which can usually be taken in the office at the time of your appointment. 

Assuming it is a simple fracture, the podiatrist will dispense and fit you with either a surgical shoe or, if it is a more serious injury, a below the knee removable walking boot. You should leave the office feeling much more comfortable and you will decrease your chances of developing long-term side effects that can be caused by an improperly treated broken toe, which I will discuss later in this article.

Most broken bones take six weeks to heal. Stress fractures can heal sooner. Your podiatrist will be able to differentiate between an acute fracture and a stress fracture by looking at your x-rays. Whether you have a bruise, a stress fracture or an acute fracture, there is a early phase of bone healing that doctors commonly refer to as the 'golden period' of healing. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to go to your podiatrist as soon as you can after any foot injury. During the early stages after an injury (10-14 days), it is especially important that you immobilize the site of injury (with the surgical shoe or CAM walker) as well as elevate and rest your feet as much as possible. The human body is pretty amazing and if you help it out with the "RICE" method: rest, ice, compression and elevation - you will greatly increase your chances of healing faster with much less swelling and pain and you will get a better cosmetic result. 

You must be careful with icing your feet. There are some medical conditions that, if you have them, you should not be icing your feet. Anyone with a history of gout should never ice their feet as it can trigger an acute gout attack. If you have a history of Raynaud's disease, a previous frostbite injury or peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation), you should not ice your feet. If you are diabetic or have nerve damage, you need to consult your podiatrist as to whether you should be icing your feet, as it depends on the severity of your disease. You should never ice longer then twenty minutes. Icing your feet longer then twenty minutes can cause tendon and nerve damage that can cause frostbite that can lead to amputation. 

After your podiatrist diagnoses you with a toe fracture, he or she will usually make a follow up appointment in six weeks to verify that the toe has healed correctly. On the six week follow up, if the podiatrist verifies that the fracture has properly healed, he or she will have you return to wearing proper shoes and ease back into all activities. 

Occasionally, the toe fracture is so severe that you might need surgery. This is one of the reasons it is important that you get x-rays. My experience has been that the majority of toe fractures do not need surgery. To state it in rather broad terms: if you have a bone sticking out of the skin and you are bleeding out of that open wound, you probably need surgery. If you have a painful, swollen toe and no open wounds with the bone not sticking out of a bleeding wound, you probably don't need surgery. This is a broad generalization and I highly recommend that you get proper evaluation and treatment from your local podiatrist - or the ER doctors!

If a broken toe is not properly treated then these complications can occur: 

1. Sausage Toe. As the name implies, a 'sausage toe' is a red, hot, swollen toe that is chronically painful as well as cosmetically unpleasing. 

2. Non-Healing Fracture. If a toe is not properly treated or if there are underlying medical issues such as diabetes, poor circulation or osteoporosis, a simple toe fracture can develop into a non-healing fracture, which means it remains chronically unstable and simply won't heal. This can be difficult to treat and lead to chronic pain, swelling and, in some cases, amputation. The best way to prevent a non-healing fracture is to get early and proper treatment of any foot injury.

3. Osteoarthritis. If the toe fracture involves the joint, an improperly treated broken toe can cause osteoarthritis, which also leads to chronic pain, swelling and degenerative joint changes. It also gives you the dubious advantage of being able to predict rainy weather. 

4. Toe Deformity.
An improperly treated broken toe can result in joint damage, chronic low-grade swelling and displacement of the broken bones that can cause toe deformity. The toe deformity can make it painful to wear shoes, cause low-grade pain and be cosmetically unpleasing. 

There are a bevy of other complications, but these are the main ones. 

Broken toe information for patients with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage):
If you are diabetic or have peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), please remember that you may not be able to feel the pain of a broken toe. I recommend that all patients with diabetes, nerve damage and poor circulation inspect their feet at least twice a day. If you have any of these conditions and if you see any problems such as swelling, bruising, or open sores on your feet, then you need to make an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible. If you have numb feet from nerve damage, you can't trust how your feet feel because you can't feel pain caused by a fracture. Broken bone pain and neuropathy pain are two different things. You may have pain caused by nerve damage, but don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you can feel nerve damage pain that you can feel the pain from a broken bone. Biomechanical pain (broken bones) and neuropathy pain (pain from nerve damage) are two different things and should be treated as two different things. As a podiatrist, I can get big improvements on biomechanical pain such as broken toes, tendonitis or osteoarthritis (to name a few) while neuropathy pain is more challenging, but not impossible, to treat. 

The truth about strapping toes together as a treatment for broken toes:
For those of you who have been told to strap your toes together - here is a little known but important caveat: you can strap toes 2-3-4 together, but you should never strap the 1st toe to the 2nd toe or the 5th toe to the 4th toe. The 1st and 5th toes have different ranges of motion and if you strap them to their neighbors, it will cause irritation and increased swelling and pain. Also, if you have diabetes, neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease - strapping your toes together can cause problems such as open wounds, infection, gangrene and even amputation. 

For best results, if you want to try strapping the toes, it is crucial that you wear proper shoes. For a fracture to heal, you must have no motion through the site of injury, which is why the surgical shoe and the CAM walker are able to heal fractures. No motion through the site of a fracture means that the bones can heal faster with less swelling and pain and less chance of forming 'bone callus', which is excess bone formation caused by motion through the area of a fracture. Bone callus formation can cause permanent bone spurring that can be painful in certain shoes. For a fracture to heal, you need immobilization (no motion through the site of injury), elevation, rest and time (usually six weeks). There's no use strapping the toes if you are going to walk barefoot, wear flip flops or wear a shoe that is too flimsy and flexible. You will just be setting yourself backwards by slowing the healing rate and setting yourself up for complications such as chronic swelling, pain, toe deformity and the dreaded 'sausage toe' which is surprisingly difficult to treat. 

Advice on what to do if you do not have access to a doctor or health care and you think you broke your toe:
1. Get a Birkenstock sandal (with the strap in the back) and wear that as much as possible. Birkenstock sandals have a rigid-sole and an open toe, which will allow for decreased motion through the site of the fracture. It is very important that you purchase the sandal that has the strap to the back as that will help prevent the toes from scrunching down to stay in a backless Birkenstock. Any extra motion through the toes will cause more swelling and pain and will slow the healing process. Click her for pictures of what a Birkenstock sandal looks like:

2. REST. Nothing speeds up healing and decreases pain more than just good, old fashioned rest. 

3. Whenever you are at rest, elevate your foot above heart level as much as possible. Elevation helps decrease swelling, which helps with decreasing pain and speeds up healing. 

4. Ice (on and off) for 5-10 minutes per day. Use a bag of frozen vegetables for 5-10 minutes at least twice a day. You can ice in increments of 5-10 minutes as many times as you like as long as you are not icing continuously. If you are diabetic, have nerve damage, poor circulation, Raynaud's disease, a history of frost-bite or gout - do not ice your feet. 

MBT (Rocker-Bottom Soled Shoes)

Rx Crocs Ultimate Cloud (with the strap to the back)
(Use the 20% Coupon link in the upper right hand corner of the blog)

Rx Crocs Relief (with the strap to the back)
(Use the 20% Coupon in the upper right hand corner of this blog)

For a shoe to be comfortable when you have a broken toe or are recovering from a broken toe, it must meet four criteria:
1. Thick, rigid and completely non-flexible sole
2. Wide toebox
3. Rearfoot control, so the toes aren't gripping down to stay in the shoe
4. Arch support

Once again, if you think you broke a toe (or broke any bone in your foot), please make an appointment with your local podiatrist. If your podiatrist is recommending surgery, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion. Most foot fractures do not require surgery and can be successfully treated with immobilization, rest and elevation.  


For more articles on painful feet and proper shoes, please check out my articles:

My feet hurt: top ten things to do to alleviate foot pain today.

Shoe Recommendations for patients recovering from Lisfranc's fractures.


I hope this was helpful and, if you want to thank me, please refer any 'limpers' in your life to my blog or, if you love detective novels, check out my novel 'Gunning For Angels' on Amazon. 

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy



Anonymous said...

Hi buddy, your blog's design is simple and clean and i like it. Your blog posts are superb. Please keep them coming. Greets!!!

flipkart coupon code

Jess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jess said...

Hi, nice blog. I noticed on most of your podiatrist shoe recommendations that none of the shoes are really recommended for peripheral neuropathy and lower back pain. I have peripheral neuropathy due to Celiac disease. What kind of shoes (particularly sandals) would you recommend for peripheral neuropathy and back pain? Or do I need to just go to a podiatrist and get orthotics?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Jess,
I have to be very careful about what I recommend for peripheral neuropathy patients because the severity of the disease can range from mild to severe. The Rx Crocs are approved by the American Podiatric Association for diabetics, which means they should be appropriate for most patients with neuropathy. The NB 928 are appropriate for most patients with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. I would consult your podiatrist for what shoes are appropriate for you.
Hope all is well and thank you for reading!

Anonymous said...

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging.
Snapdeal coupon

Unknown said...

Hello nice blog im from newcastel i found this on yahoouk I seen it on the top ten searches i found this blog very interesting good luck with it i will return to this blog soon

jabong coupon code

Anonymous said...

Not sure what you are smoking when you recommend Crocs -- the soles are flimsy.

According to your recommendation, I bought a pair Crocs Relief. They are so flexible that I might as well wear flip-flops. I have to send them back.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
Sorry that the Rx Crocs didn't work for you. I would recommend you follow up with your local podiatrist to get recommendations better suited to your particular foot issues.
Best wishes,

Love Shuz said...

Great blog. i m from Canada. i have my own Shoes Stores Toronto in Canada. we providing ladies and men's both design of shoes.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that podiatrists had special shoes for broken toes. I was one of the people you mentioned in your article who thought that there was no real treatment for broken toes. I also didn't know that certain medical conditions are made worse with icing your feet. Thanks for the tips, if I ever get a broken toe I will look for a special shoe or boot. http://thefootandanklecarecenter.com/

Jordan said...

Great information here. I've heard the common myth that there's nothing that can be done about a broken toe, and your article DEFINITELY shows how untrue that is! It's very important to treat any toe you think is broken right in order to make sure it heals properly.

Unknown said...

Would love to see a post on recommended cross trainers (or tennis shoes something with lateral stability) for those who require moderate to severe motion control. Both me and my wife struggle to find anything that isn't a running shoe.


MsWill2u said...

HELP Please.
-Plantar Fasciotomy Surgery (L&R) 2006
-Radiofrequency Endovenous Ablation (L&R Leg) 2007
--2nd Meterarsal Foot Fracture Surgery
(Plate & Screws) 3 June 2015
*Just weening off the boot.
-Severe Metatarsalgia (L&R)
I am not even close to being over weight.
Had to give up running and now even casual walking, foot pad pain is SEVERE! *burning and pain (L&R)
I need shoe recommendation that supports metatarsal plate, plantar fasciiti and especially Metatarsalgia.

A big challenge, please help.

Jordan said...

Some very important points here! I know of many people who don't go to the doctor's when their toe is broken because of these myths. It's so important to see a doctor and do what you can for your feet to prevent long-lasting problems!

Kirra said...

I just wanted to let you know how helpful your site has been. I broke my fifth metatarsal in the middle of June. When I was given permission to start wearing normal shoes, I got a pair of Brooks running shoes http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/adrenaline-gts-15-womens-running-shoes/120174.html?cgid=womens-runningshoes-cushionme&srule=best-matches&dwvar_120174_color=179&dwvar_120174_width=B#start=1 the best option the store I went to had in my size. The sole flexes a bit in the toe but otherwise is very firm. A week later, I bought a pair of the Crocs you recommend. Soon I plan to buy a pair of the Dansko professional clogs that you suggest. I tried on a pair today and liked them very much. They're very comfortable, but I was surprised at how low the back was, especially now that I'm used to these running shoes. I am sure that my shoes have at least half the blame for my break, so I'm planning to throw out the majority of my cheap shoes and start investing in quality shoes! I look forward to coming back to your site every time I'm ready to look for something new.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Jordan,
Thanks for reading and commenting!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Kirra,
I'm so glad you are getting better! Thank you so much for reading the blog and for your kind words!!
Best wishes!

Unknown said...

I really had a great time reading this stunning information about shoes. I really love reading and learn more about used shoes. Let me share this to my friends. Thank you!


Unknown said...

Glad I came across this! I broke the second toe on a drawer that was not closed properly. It hurt so bad I started shaking and the toe decided to make a distinct left turn right at the base. Just as you stated, my doctor said nothing could be done and to tape it. I have to be up and around quite a bit and I just could not do it. I have a cam walker from when I had ankle surgery. I told my husband, it may be overkill for a broken toe, but I am going to use it! Guess it isn't overkill after all. Thanks for this information!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that information Dr McArthy.My son broke his toe playing football or when he hit it on a metal stick slightly exposed off the ground. Both times hurt terribly. Took him for x rays but we were told they were inconclusive. No swelling or bruise just pain. 6 months later he still hurts feels pain at times playing football. Few days ago did x rays and CT scan. Yes it was broken. Would a moon boot heal it or is surgery unavoidable? The fragment of bone is still attached but bone is not straight and smooth. I am afraid he won't be able to play football (soccer) again. He is training to be a pro. Looking forward to advise. Thanks

Anonymous said...

This is a very explanatory article. Simple yet precise! I am on my 4th week of nursing a broken " ring" toe of the left foot. I never dreamed how debilitating a broken toe could be!!! Today is my "anniversary " day of 4 weeks ago :(
I can walk better today than yesterday.My advice is to anyone looking for answers on broken toes, do what this article says and be patient! LOL

Shanaya said...

Excellent and helpful post.I am so glad to left comment on this. This has been a so interesting ..I appreciate your effort..

Unknown said...

I went today to see about my toe. And yes it's broken. The doctor I have in the ER Sux. And didn't even offer me a medical shoe. I guess I have to get one from the podiatrist.😕

MS Silva said...

Great, thanks for sharing. We are providing shoe cleaning tips and cleaner here- thepinkmiracle.com. You can take it and use them easily. Are you using it?

TraceyLacey said...

Saturday was 5 weeks since I broke my toe. Ive been wearing a boot every since. I tried a speaker for a few hours but it started to hurt so I put the boot back on to relieve pain. I hope that itsi pain free on my 6th week. I know that patience is the key.

Ash Green said...

It was really insightful.
Thanks for the info.
Wanna have more contents from you.
BTW if anyone interested more have a look Click Here For Visit My Site thanks

mom24reds said...

I am 9 months post break in my right foot, 3 in my left. I've done crutches, boots (short and tall), surgery (2 pins, removed 7 weeks later, unsuccessful), laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, elevation, essential oils, every vitamin and supplement I've heard may help...and finally some progress. I'm looking at these shoes and I was told I can start one on my left foot in a few weeks, and I'm scared! I cannot go thru this any longer.
Thanks for the suggestions!

Adele said...

[Quiz] Which "Odd" Veg Reverses Diabetes?

A breakthrough study has shown that this "odd" vegetable reverses diabetes at the source.

It's 475% more powerful than exercise...

552% more effective than any diet...

and 820% more powerful than any medication!

Can you guess which one it is? (Click the link to find out)

A) Horned Melon
B) Kohlrabi
C) Jicama


PS. The $370 billion dollar diabetes industry do not want you to see this video and discover the amazing diabetes-reversing vegetable. Watch it now before it's too late.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hello Mom24Reds,
I'm sorry to hear about your injury! Please look up the article on my blog entitled, "My Feet Hurt! Top 10 things to do to alleviate foot pain today." That article will give you the basics.
Hope you feel better soon!
Dr. McCarthy

Bonnie said...

Oh my! Dr. McCarthy.
You don't give an alternative to NOT wrapping the pinky (5) toe to the (4)toe. I've been wrapping my two last toes (break in uppermost small bone in pinky, with xray. For 2 weeks after doc visit, STILL so much pain. Doing everything I should. Am wearing loose birkenstock type shoes. Cannot have any pressure, even the loose wrap bothers me. So, no splint on the pinky? What to do. I'll check this soon. Thanks much. Your blog site here is super. Thanks.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Bonnie,
Make sure you follow up with your Podiatrist as you should be in a surgical shoe for at least 6 weeks. If you are still having a lot of pain, you Podiatrist will get a repeat x-ray and possibly place you in a CAM.
Good luck!
Dr. McCarthy

Nelson Buena said...

Thank you for posting this blog, this is very helpful. You might want to check - https://qrclinicvancouver.com/conditions-treated/foot-toe-pain-treatment/

Mary said...

I broke my third two and have been buddy taping and wearing a surgical shoe for 5 weeks. I saw the doctor and she said that I should be weaning out of the boot now. I have been wearing soft sandals around the house because I have pain in the balls of my feet and sneakers when out. Both these shoes especially the sandals are somewhat flexible. I wanted to wear the post surgical shoe for 6 weeks, but I have developed pain and stiffness in my ankle and the doctor said it was from wearing the shoe for 5 weeks. Do you think that I should continue to wear the shoe for another week? I am not sure what to do as my doctor originally said it doesn't even matter if I wear the shoe or not and it is my choice. Also, I have iced my foot several times not knowing that it could cause damage for someone with Raynauds and did notice that my foot turned black in spots on the bottom, but then returned to normal. Do you think that I could have caused permanent damage? I will not ice anymore.

Isabel Fernandes said...

So interesting and effective an article you just have published, this is really very informative and I just completed reading this content. You’ve shared very latest information. Please don’t hesitate to share this kind of rich information.

Raymond said...

Herpes is a serious and recurring disease which can't be cured through drugs or injections by the doctors but the best way to deal with Herpes is by taking natural herbs medicine for it,  I have read about DR NOGADU the great herbalist doctor who cure me from herpes  with his powerful herbal medicine.  i contacted him to know how he can help me and he told me never to worry that he will help me with the natural herbs from God! After 2 days of contacting him, he told me that the cure has been ready and he sent it to me via UPS SPEED POST and it got to me after 3 days! i used the medicine as he instructed me (MORNING and EVENING) and i was cured! It was really like a dream but i was  so happy! you should contact him for his herbal medicine because i am a living testimony and i was cured of herpes and his medicine is legit.  I sent him what he requested and he sent me his medicine which I took for 2 good weeks and today I am out here with a negative result. When I went for the test I was so happy after going through his medication. you can reach him through his email: drnogaduherbalist@gmail.com or call/whatsapp number:+2347010627760 he will help you out.

Unknown said...

I am so glad to find the article! I am almost 3 weeks into broken middle right toe (toe bended to the right but I put it back immediately). I cheated yesterday to sit on chair (feet not up completely) and stand more at home. Result? I have more swollen foot today! I will go back to baby my foot and be patient! Question: Is Birkenstock Milano as functioning as surgical shoes? I got both, just wondering. Thank you!

rao77 said...

Stay Home And Be safe Carona effect Nice to see your blog keep updating offers & coupons Clovia Coupons and Offers- Find the latest Filpkart, Nykaa, nnnow, paytmall, Clovia Coupons and Best Offers for Men & women online shopping at Tracedeals.
Clovia offers
Flipkart offers
Nykaa offers
Nnnow offers
Paytmmall offers
oppo Mobile offers
Samsung Mobile Phone
Flipkart Coupons
Flipkart sale
Bookmyshow Coupons

Anonymous said...

What do you recommend as far as showering goes? Should we take the walking shoe off or leave it on and wrap it in plastic?

blogger said...

In our simple life, The heart plays a very specific role. Now you are able to make your life healthy and it has no space for any type trouble. These all are possible with the help of AGBAZARA TEMPLE OF SOLUTION. He helped me cast a spell that cured my heart problem in a short time. you can also contact him on ( agbazara@gmail.com ) or call OR WhatsApp him on +2348104102662 and get your disease of all types cured with his powerful voodoo spell.

Unknown said...

What footwear should I wear around the house for a broken pinky toe (2 fractures) atm it is buddied to the 4th toe and I am walking on the heel of my foot. This is not ideal as I have other joint problems and arthritis.

Bace Sportswear said...

Shop Online Tennis Dresses and Golf Clothing for Girls only at Bace Sportswear!

Jane Gun said...

Shop freely huge collection of seamless gym leggings, Women cropped jumper, Women sleeveless hoodies and many more only from Jane Gun Women gym clothing online store.

kunal said...

Thanks for sharing
Orthopedic Expert Witness
Orthopedic Surgery Expert Witness

Cyrus Jenix said...

thank you for share this informative article.
poe dameron jacket

Hadi shaikh said...

Brow bone reduction cost You made such an interesting piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain knowledge. Thanks for sharing the such information with us to read this...

Unknown said...

I contacted doctorojie1@yahoo.com because i as depressed and confused about my health condition, but after taking dr Ojie herbal medicine my health was restored, and since the past mouths now things as been fine and OK as I have always wanted Dr Ojie also have medicine for Cancer, fibroid, Diabetic, hepatic, and herpes dick and breast enlargement you can also Call or Whatsapp dr Ojie on +2349015357322 thank you all...