Why You Shouldn’t Let A Broken Toe Heal On Its Own
It is a common misconception that broken toes can’t be treated and will heal on their own. The truth is, not treating a broken toe can result in complications that, not only make the healing process take longer, but can cause permanent damage.
When a broken toe isn’t stabilized, the bone can heal incorrectly, which can lead to limited mobility in that toe. In addition, your shoes may not fit comfortably, and your pattern of walking or gait may be altered. This can lead to other complications unrelated to the broken toe, such as ankle, knee and back problems.
Also, the broken halves of the bone could end up healing so poorly that surgery may be required. This invasive procedure can be avoided if a broken toe is treated properly.
In some cases, broken toes can create immediate and subsequent complications such as subungual hematomas or open/compound fractures, where the broken bone protrudes through the skin. Any sort of open wound, like a compound fracture, should be treated immediately to reduce the risk of infection.
The greatest risk in leaving broken toes untreated is the likelihood that it could lead to chronic arthritis. This common condition is the result of swollen and inflamed joints, and a poorly healed toe joint is an ideal place for arthritis to form. Chronic arthritis is a painful condition and can cause discomfort and stiffness, affecting activities of daily living, such as walking, for the rest of your life. While arthritic pain can be reduced with treatment, arthritis cannot be cured, so it’s important to prevent this condition by minimizing your risk of developing it.
When treated, broken toes take about six weeks to properly heal. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the break but may include stabilization of the toe, casting or splinting, as well as additional treatment for open fractures. Other remedies can be implemented at-home once treatment has been established, including plenty of rest and broken toeelevation of the injured foot.
Prognosis of a broken toe can be very good when treated. Simple fractures generally heal with no additional issues, while severe fractures can sometimes result in long-term, residual problems such as stiffness, deformity and chronic soreness or pain.
Remember, a broken toe may not always appear to be broken. This is why treating any type of foot injury by visiting a podiatrist is critical in reducing or preventing long-term damage.
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