A sprained toe is one of common injury that most of the people already faced in their life. It gives painful ache to the toe, but it’s different than the broken toe.
In this post, you can learn about toe sprained symptoms, causes, treatments, healing time, and all you must know before going to treatments at home.
How I Get a Sprained toe
A sprain is an injury that occurs by overstretching, tearing, or damaging the Ligaments, Cartilage, or joint. When this happens to your foot fingers, it means you faced to the sprained toe.
This kind of twist mostly happens to the people who familiar with sports. Not only that, many people have experience with this injury when their toes stubbed with another. Most of the time, Big and Pinky toe faced to this damage. However, it can cause other toes as well
How it happen?
It’s easy to explain with the right knowledge about toe structure.
Every foot toe consists of bones and joints. These bones also called ‘Phalanges.’ And all toe connecting to the middle foot by ‘Metatarsal phalange joint.’ (See infographic)
The big toe has two bones.
- Proximal Phalanges
- Distal Phalanges
Big toe bones connecting each other by ‘Proximal Phalanges joint.’
The other four digits have three phalanges.
- Proximal phalanges
- Middle phalanges
- Distal Phalanges
These bones are interconnecting each other by two joints.
- Proximal interphalangeal joint: Connect proximal and middle phalanges each other
- Distal interphalangeal joint: Connect middle and distal phalanges each othzer
Each bone ends connective and covers with strong tissues, and also there is a layer of cartilage between joints. Further, this cartilage layer helps to move and bend toe bones with joints smoothly.
These joints, cartilage, and tissues can damage by various kinds of activities such as stubbing a toe. As a result of sprain occur around the toe.
What are the causes of Toe Sprain?
Here are some main reasons that make a toe sprain.
Hyperextension Activities – Extra bending the toe to backward
- Landing awry when jump or fall
- Stubbing toe
- Wearing tight footwear
Hyperflexion Activities – Extra bending the toes to frontward
- Kicking an object
- Working on the rough surface
- wearing tight shoes
- When Dancing and Gymnastic
- Sports such as football, Rugby, Running
What are the Symptoms of Sprained Toe?
Symptoms will occur around the injured toe. More symptoms can appear instantly or on the following morning. It depends on the severity of the damage.
- Pain on side, front or back of the injured toe
- Repetitive strain during activities
- Swelling and bruising
- Pain on the toe when tightly touching
How to diagnose a Sprained Toe
This can divide into three main categories according to the severity of the sprain.
- Grade one – Mild Sprain: Micro tearing or stretching of the ligament
- Grade two – Moderate Sprain: Partial tearing of the ligament and Mild instability of the joint
- Grade three – Severe Sprain: Severe or complete tearing of the ligament
If it is a grade one sprain, you also can diagnose it. You can consider about physical changes on the toe to identify the sprain. If you have Mild sprain, symptoms will mild, and there is no development of swelling and pain. You can follow general treatments for grade one sprain until it off from your toe.
If you recognize that general treatments were not giving any proper response to symptoms after two-three days, maybe it will grade two or grade three sprain. It’s time to go to the physiotherapist or doctor for excellent advice.
You have to give the correct information to doctor, such as how you get injured, what you feel, when it happens, etc.
And the physiotherapist or doctor will diagnose your sprain and move you to the appropriate test such as primary treatments, X-ray tests, MRI, or CT Scan test according to your severity.
Sprained Toe Treatments
Mild sprain doesn’t want particular treatments. You can treat it using topical creams or patches to avoid growing swelling and pain.
But Moderate sprain and severe sprain need appropriate treatments.
You can do the following methods for the sprained big, pinky or middle toe, as well as bruises, jammed, or stubbed toe to reduce swelling, brushing and pain. If you have Mild Sprain, symptoms will lessen after 2-3 days.
1. Tap or warp your injured toe for protects and continuing stability of sprained toe.
You can tape/wrap your injured toe to the next digit as a support to maintain the stability of twist toe by a tape. Therefore you can use specific wrapping tape or any other tape to do this. This method called ‘Buddy Taping.’
Buddy taping treatment suitable for pinky and middle toes except for big toe. Because your big toe needs’ toeing off’ when you walk. But if your big digit gets injured, don’t bend after taping.
Furthermore, don’t tape two injured toes together.
How to warp a Sprained toe?
- First, you have to identify the injured toe and choose the next finger that closes with size and height. As an example, if your second toe damaged, you can tape it with the middle finger, and also if your pinky toe injured, you can tape it with the fourth finger.
- Put some padding between the injured toe and the next toe, which you are going to tape. For this, you can put some cotton of a piece of gauze as padding.
- Then wrap your injured toe to the next toe.
- Don’t wrap I too tightly because of its interrupt to the blood circulation. But tape it correctly to continuing the stability of hurt toe.
You must wrap your injured toe when you go to sleep because your toes move around more when you’re in sleeping.
And also you can tape a broken toe until you go to the doctor.
2. Avoid normal activities and rest your toe until you can use toe without pain.
3. Elevate your bruised toe leg above heart level when you are sleeping, sitting, or lying down.
4. Use Ice pack within the first 24hours to reduce swelling and pain.
You can daub ice pack 10-15min every 4-5 hours according to your swell and ache.
5. Add some Epsom salt to warm water and soak your feet around 15-20 minutes.
Epsom salt will reduce swelling and bruises on damage toe.
6. Use crutches, specialized footwars when you walk to avoid moving your sprained toe.
7. Use pain relief creams, balm, or medical patches over the injured toe.
8. Do exercises to increase blood circulation to the jammed toe to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain.
Do extension and flexion exercises.
- Hold your heel in one hand and grasp sprained toe from the other hand and pull to backward slowly for stretch.
- Hold the stretch around 15-20 seconds and release it.
- Next, do like this to frontward.
- Follow these steps 3-4 times.
- Don’t pull hard and you can do these exercises separately when you multiple injured toes.
Toe curl exercises
- Set a towel on the floor and place your injured foot on it.
- Bunch the towel from toes and pull it inside.
- Hold it for 5-6 seconds and pull the towel to forward.
- Repeat exercise for 8-10 times, and this method most useful when your overall toes get sprain.
After these treatments, if you notice your bruised toe getting swelling, increase paining, or toe getting cold or numb, you have to go to the doctor for further medical advice.
The doctor will analyze and decide as it’s a sprain or fraction of bone.
How long does a sprained toe take to heal
- Sprain toe is an injury that tearing or damaging the ligaments of the toe.
- It usually takes 3-6 weeks to get heal. But it depends on the stage of your toe sprain and treatments.
- There is no broken toe, so still, you can walk. But you should avoid walking if you want to heal it soon.
There are no unique prevention methods. But, you can avoid risk factors that may occur a sprained toe.
You can wear the right footwear when you are doing sports or other activities. And also, be aware when you work on rough grounds and keep focusing when you walk to avoid stubbing a toe.
When you faced toe sprained injury firstly, you have to pay attention is it big or not. If you think it cant be treat by yourself, better go and meet your doctor. However, don’t do recent activities until doing proper treatment for the injury.