How to Tape a Broken Toe

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Whether tripping over the cat or jamming your foot against a door, many of us have experienced the excruciating pain of a broken toe. Because you can't put a cast on a broken toe like you can a broken arm or leg, taping the toe is usually the best treatment.

Things You'll Need

  • A broken toe
  • Ice
  • Padding (cotton or gauze)
  • Tape

Instructions

  • Get an x-ray to determine if you really have a broken toe. An x-ray is the only real way to ascertain whether you have a break or a sprain (unless, of course, you see a bone sticking out). Be aware that whether the x-ray shows a break or not, the treatment is still the same. If getting an x-ray gives you peace of mind, go for it! However, whether broken or sprained, the typical treatment for a broken toe is taping it to the adjacent toe to give you added stability as well as keeping the broken toe immobile.

  • Apply ice to the broken toe to help bring down swelling. It's better to put ice in a plastic bag or a thin towel rather than applying it directly to the skin.

  • Place a small amount of padding (cotton or gauze) between the broken and adjacent toes. Don't use a large quantity of padding because this may cause your broken toe to heal in a splayed out manner instead of straight. Padding is used to keep the skin between the two toes from developing sores or blisters.

  • Buddy tape the broken toe to the adjacent toe. Don't apply the tape so tight that you cut off circulation. If your toes begin to turn purple, the tape is too tight!

  • Elevate your foot as much as possible to help relieve swelling.

  • Avoid strenuous activities or a lot of walking in order to take pressure off of the toe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear shoes that protect your broken toe. It will only increase your pain if you wear open-toe shoes or sandals and someone steps on your foot. Ouch!
  • If you see a bone poking through the skin, do not attempt to treat yourself. Get to a doctor so the bone can be put back in place.
  • If pain is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medication, contact your doctor.

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