If you have recently stubbed your toe or dropped a heavy object on it, you may be wondering how to tell if your toe is broken. It can be difficult to determine whether your toe is just sore and bruised or actually broken. If you suspect your toe is broken or the pain does not subside, it is important to seek medical treatment.
- You will need to evaluate the symptoms. Most often, a broken toe causes swelling, pain and stiffness after an injury has occurred. It is not uncommon for the toe to look bruised. In more severe cases, the toe may actually look deformed or out of place. These symptoms often make it difficult to walk and wear shoes.
- You can tell if your toe is broken easily if the break is severe. When toes are broken severely, the bone may actually protrude through the skin, which is called a compound fracture. In some cases, surgery is needed to correct the broken toe.
- If you have broken your toe, other delayed symptoms can occur as well. Delayed complications of a broken toe include toe deformity, stiffness and pain. Arthritis can even result from a broken toe.
A doctor can help you tell if your toe is broken. If you suspect your toe is broken, seek a medical evaluation. If you can't tell if your toe is broken, seek medical attention if the pain does not subside or worsens. If open wounds appear or the redness and swelling do not subside, seek medical care. In severe breaks, go to the emergency room if your toe become cold, numb or begins to tingle. If the toe changes to a blue or gray color or there are open wounds or drainage from the toe, go to the emergency room.