This information is for anyone who has a broken (fractured) toe or when the joint comes out of place (dislocated).
Healing usually takes around 6 weeks.
Pain and swelling
Your foot may be swollen and painful. Swelling is often worse at the end of the day. Resting with your foot up, and using ice or cold packs, will help. You can also take pain killers. Mild pain and swelling is normal for 3 to 6 months after your injury.
Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice on what medicines to take for the pain.
Walking and strapping
Strapping the toes is sometimes needed. This is when you tape your injured toe to the toe next to it. This is only to protect the injured toe and make it more comfortable, not to help healing. If necessary, it is done in the emergency department before you leave hospital.
You can reduce how much you use the strapping as your toe becomes less painful.
You can put weight through your foot. You may find it easier to use crutches or walk on your heel in the early stages.
Start exercise as soon as possible. See Exercises below for details.
Reducing or stopping smoking will help recovery.
For help, talk to your GP or pharmacist, or go to www.smokefree.nhs.uk for more information.
We do not usually book to see patients again. With this injury, most people recover well by following the instructions we give here.
Get advice from your GP if you still have significant pain or swelling after 3 months.
Caring for your injury: week 1 to 2
To make it more comfortable, tape your injured toe to the toe next to it. Do this for the first 2 to 3 weeks, as needed.
Wear a shoe with a stiff sole.
If necessary, put most of your weight on your heel.
Rest your foot, especially in the first 3 days. Raise your foot on a stool or cushions so that it is above the level of your hip. This will help to reduce the swelling.
Early movement of the ankle and foot is important to promote blood flow and reduce the risk of a blood clot. You can find out more including symptoms of a clot at www.nhs.uk/conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis-dvt.
Do these exercises 3 to 4 times a day.
Start straight away.
Move gently and within comfort. You do not need to push into pain.
Point your foot up and down.
Repeat this 10 times.
With your heels together, move your toes apart to turn the foot outwards.
Repeat this 10 times.
Make gentle circles with your foot in one direction and then the other direction.
Repeat this 10 times.
Caring for your injury: week 3 to 6
Stop taping your toes. Try to return to wearing normal shoes.
It is normal to still have mild discomfort and swelling. This may continue for 3 to 6 months.
Activity and exercise
Keep doing your exercises until you have full movement of your foot.
Gradually increase your activity.
Avoid anything that involves impact for 6 to 12 weeks. This includes running, jumping and dancing.
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.
Switchboard 020 8546 7711
‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.
Request More Information
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).
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