Toe Fracture

Toe Fracture

What is it?

A toe fracture is a break in one or more of the 19 toe bones. Fractures are either traumatic (caused by direct trauma) or stress fractures (caused by repetitive stress on the bone).

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Traumatic toe fractures are much more common and occur in many ways, such as when an object is dropped on the foot, the toe area is stepped on or stubbed with force or during an accident. Symptoms of a traumatic fracture include:

  • A cracking sound
  • Pain in the area of impact that may subside
  • Bruising and swelling
  • A distorted appearance of the toe

Meanwhile, stress fractures often affect athletes, such as runners or those who run and put stress on the toes as part of their sport or activity. They also may be caused by:

  • Improper shoe fit
  • Abnormal foot structureOsteoporosis

Symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Pain when standing or during or after the activity
  • Pain when the toe is touched
  • Swelling


A doctor will diagnose a toe fracture by examining the foot, reviewing symptoms and medical history and conducting imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs.


Treatment for fractures includes:

  • Resting
  • Splinting
  • Changing or modifying footwear to offer more protection
  • Taping the fractured toe to another toe
If pain persists, the doctor may recommend surgery.

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Orthopaedic Specialists

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