Managing a stubbed toe can be a surprisingly painful experience. Stubbing a toe often results from accidentally kicking the toe into a wall, tripping over objects, or catching it on various surfaces. The symptoms, whether the injury is minor or severe, typically include intense and sometimes sharp pain, radiating discomfort through the foot or ankle, and pain when putting weight on the injured area. The pain of stubbed toes can be significant because of the abundance of nerves in the toe. This heightened sensitivity is compounded by the lack of substantial cushioning in some shoes, along with minimal fat in the toe to absorb impact. This can increase the risk of more severe injuries, such as bone bruises and fractures. If the toe begins to swell and persistent pain lingers even after several hours, it is a sign you may need to see a podiatrist. Additionally, if the toenail either detaches, or the surrounding area experiences significant swelling, you may be at risk of an infection. For these reasons, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to ensure proper care and prevent potential complications.
What Causes Toe Pain?
Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.
Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:
- Sports injury
- Wearing shoes that are too tight
- Corns and calluses
- Ingrown toenails
- Fractures (broken bones)
When to See a Podiatrist
- Severe pain
- Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
- Signs of infection
- Continued swelling
- Pain that prevents walking
In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.
Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.