Toe and Metatarsal Fractures (Broken Toes)

There are 28 bones in the foot. Of them, 19 are toe bones (phalanges) and metatarsal bones (the long bones in the midfoot). A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures of the toe and metatarsal bones are common and requires the evaluation by a specialist. Traumatic or acute fractures are caused by a direct blow or impact. Traumatic fractures can be either displaced or nondisplaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed position. Symptoms can include pain during or after normal activity, pain that goes away when resting but returns when standing or during activities, pinpoint pain when the afflicted area is touched, or swelling without bruising. Treatment options for toe fractures include rest, splinting, use of rigid or stiff-soled shoes, buddy taping, and surgery. Treatment options for metatarsal fractures include rest, avoiding activities, immobilization via casting or wearing a rigid shoe, or surgery. Consequences of improper treatment of toe or metatarsal fractures can include deformity of the bone architecture, arthritis, chronic pain, and failure to heal.

“Each toe has three bones, except for the big toe, which has two. Toe injuries can be very common in patients of all ages. Fractures can range from minor to severe, and some toe fractures need medical attention.”