Factors that increase your risk of getting a toe sprain include:
- Stubbing your toe into something when walking barefoot or while wearing sandals
- Stopping suddenly when running, causing a toe to jam into the end of your shoe
- Landing awkwardly from a jump, causing a toe to jam into the end of your shoe
Sports such as:
- Wearing inappropriate footwear for an activity
- Poor coordination
- Rough ground
You will be asked about your symptoms and how you injured your toe. Your toe will be examined to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.
Images may need to be taken of your toe. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
Toe sprains are graded according to ligament damage. The more ligaments damaged, the more severe the injury.
Some microtearing of ligament tissue
- Partial tearing of ligament tissue
- Mild instability of the joint
- Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissue
- Significant instability of the joint
You will need time to heal, but strict rest is rarely necessary. RICE therapy is often advised:
- Rest—Avoid using the injured toe. Go about your normal activities as much as you can tolerate.
- Ice—Ice may help decrease swelling and pain in the first few days after the injury.
- Compression—Compression of the toe with an elastic bandage may help to control swelling.
- Elevation—Keep the injured foot raised above the level of your heart to help drain fluid and reduce swelling.
Consider wearing a shoe with a stiff sole to help protect the injured toe.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and over-the-counter pain medications may be advised.
Topical pain medications, such as creams, patches, can also be applied to the skin.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation http://www.aapmr.org
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
British Columbia Association of Podiatrists http://www.foothealth.ca
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association http://www.podiatrycanada.org
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