A broken finger or toe can cause a lot of discomfort in the beginning. A sign of a fracture is if the pain does not decrease after the accident and the same pain continues after an hour or even more. Going to the doctor and then to the emergency room is the most logical consequence. Anyone who does not have a broken toe or finger treated and simply lets it heal can suffer greatly later. A finger can grow together incorrectly and then become crooked. You may later have continued difficulty writing, picking things up and/or taking care of your own body. A crooked toe can also become a problem when buying shoes.
Always go to the doctor if you have a broken finger or toe
Even if you do not think that the toe or finger is broken, it is still wise to go to the doctor if you experience a lot of pain. Usually they will send you to the emergency department (ED) in the hospital to have a photo taken. If something is broken, you will be helped immediately. However, a fracture to a finger or toe usually does not mean that your hand or foot will be put in a plaster cast.
Toes are important for balance
The toes of the foot are important in maintaining balance while standing and walking. Not only the big toe, but also the little toes. It is therefore very wise not to take any risks if there is something wrong with one of your toes. The big toe in particular is very important.
Waiting too long can cause problems later
A fracture of one of the toes must be given ample opportunity to heal properly. If you wait too long before going to the doctor, you run the risk of the toe growing crookedly and causing problems with walking later. As you get older, the toe can even grow crooked, which can cause even more problems later on.
Usually no plaster for a broken toe
However, a toe is often too small to put in a cast. This is simply not possible, especially in the case of a fracture of the smallest toe. In such a case, plaster would also completely unbalance the adjacent toe due to its thickness, which would only make the problem worse. After all, the space in between is quite small. The question then remains whether the broken toe will be given the space to heal properly.
A complicated fracture of the big toe
If there is a complicated or double fracture of the big, thick toe, more work is often required and a plaster or walking cast is still required. It is considered on a case-by-case basis by the doctor in the hospital. However, fixing with tape is usually sufficient to allow the toe to heal properly and straight.
Operate in rare cases
An open or complicated fracture of a toe, finger or thumb almost always requires surgical treatment and is then placed in a plaster cast, including the hand or foot. Usually three or four weeks. In the case of a closed fracture, where nothing is broken on the outside and where the bone parts are nicely opposite each other, surgery is usually not required.
Splinting a fracture
In all other cases, a broken toe is usually secured with tape to the adjacent toe. It then immediately serves as a splint. A wad of cotton wool is placed between the two toes, so that the toes do not touch each other. This way, the broken toe cannot grow crookedly towards the other toe and still has support. It may seem less sturdy to someone who has never broken anything, but it works fine, as long as you give the toe the rest it needs afterwards.
To watch out
However, you don’t have to sit constantly with a broken toe, but you do have to be careful not to bump it. Plaster is stronger than tape and impacting the broken and splinted toe could unbalance the fracture and cause crooked growth. A broken toe is not really a big problem, but you do have to be careful with it. However, always keep your foot elevated when you do sit down, especially in the beginning.
In addition to possibly straightening and splinting the toe, you will sometimes also be given a walking shoe. This shoe keeps your foot and especially the broken toe in a fixed position. Even when you walk. However, it is not the intention that you simply do your daily work with that running shoe, because then the shoe will be worn out after two weeks, while the intention is usually to last you at least four weeks.
Only perform the necessary walking movements
You can walk with it to do the necessary things, such as going to the toilet, making food and drinks, etc., but you are not supposed to go shopping with it extensively. Then you would overload the foot, despite the support of the running shoe. A little extra rest is important for the toe.
A broken finger is usually not immediately put in a cast
A normally broken finger is also usually not placed in a plaster cast due to the tight space between them. Just like a broken toe, it is often splinted and secured to the adjacent finger. With a broken thumb that is a bit more difficult. One doctor secures him to the hand with tape, while the other puts the thumb and wrist in a plaster cast for three weeks. This depends not only on the doctor who treats you, but also on the type of fracture, as the doctor sees it in the photo.
Always have it checked
If you continue to have severe pain in your fingers or toes (still after an hour) after a bump or blow with a hammer, always consult your doctor. If you do not trust it yourself, ask to be transferred to the hospital to have a photo taken. An untreated fracture to a finger or toe can later result in a crooked finger or toe and cause a lot of pain.
Possible loss of functionality
Sometimes there is a loss of functionality of the affected body part and this can be very annoying, especially in the feet and hands. In that case, surgery is sometimes necessary later to put things right again, if anything can be done about it.
Sometimes there is crooked growth after an operation
Even if the finger or toe has been treated properly, crooked growth may still be observed weeks or months later. That is not surprising, it happens more often and it cannot always be prevented. Even in the case of fractures of the metatarsal bones and/or subsequent surgery, some misalignment of the foot may be observed later. If it bothers you a lot, go to the doctor, but keep in mind that every new operation also entails a risk.