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Toe Fractures - Irvine, CA

Toe Fracture - Orange County Foot and Ankle Surgeon

X-ray showing displaced oblique fracture of the proximal phalanx of the great toe. Irvine, CA.

Many toe fractures in Irvine, CA can be successful treated without surgery, but some more serious toe fractures do require surgery. 


Our Irvine Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Surgeon) should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.

Toe Fracture (Broken Toe) in Irvine, CA

Our Irvine Podiatrist / Foot and Ankle Surgeon can evaluate and treat your toe fracture at our Irvine, CA or Huntington Beach, CA offices.

The structure of the foot is complex, consisting of bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Of the 26 bones in the foot, 14 are toe bones (phalanges) Toe fractures (broken toe) are very common in Irvine, CA and require evaluation by a foot and ankle specialist. Many toe fractures in Irvine, CA can be successful treated without surgery, but some more serious toe fractures do require surgery. Our Irvine Podiatrist / Foot and Ankle Surgeon should be seen for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if initial treatment has been received in an emergency room.

What Is a Fracture?
A fracture is a break in the bone. Fractures can be divided into two categories: traumatic fractures and stress fractures.

Traumatic fractures (also called acute fractures) are caused by a direct blow or impact, such as seriously stubbing your toe. Traumatic fractures can be displaced or non-displaced. If the fracture is displaced, the bone is broken in such a way that it has changed in position (dislocated).


Signs and symptoms of a traumatic fracture in Irvine, CA include:

  • You may hear a sound at the time of the break.

  • “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the place of impact) at the time the fracture occurs and perhaps for a few hours later, but often the pain goes away after several hours.

  • Crooked or abnormal appearance of the toe.

  • Bruising and swelling the next day.

  • It is not true that “if you can walk on it, it’s not broken.” Evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is always recommended.


Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks that are usually caused by repetitive stress. Stress fractures often afflict athletes who, for example, too rapidly increase their running mileage. They can also be caused by an abnormal foot structure, deformities, or osteoporosis. Improper footwear may also lead to stress fractures. Stress fractures should not be ignored. They require proper medical attention to heal correctly.


Symptoms of stress fractures in Irvine, CA include:

  • Pain with or after normal activity

  • Pain that goes away when resting and then returns when standing or during activity

  • “Pinpoint pain” (pain at the site of the fracture) when touched

  • Swelling, but no bruising.


Consequences of Improper Treatment
Some people say that “the doctor can’t do anything for a broken bone in the foot.” This is usually not true. In fact, if a fractured toe is not treated correctly, serious complications may develop. For example:

  • A deformity in the bony architecture which may limit the ability to move the foot or cause difficulty in fitting shoes

  • Arthritis, which may be caused by a fracture in a joint (the juncture where two bones meet), or may be a result of angular deformities that develop when a displaced fracture is severe or hasn’t been properly corrected

  • Chronic pain and deformity

  • Non-union, or failure to heal, can lead to subsequent surgery or chronic pain.


Treatment of Toe Fractures in Irvine, CA
Fractures of the toe bones are almost always traumatic fractures. Treatment for traumatic fractures depends on the break itself and may include these options:

  • Rest. Sometimes rest is all that is needed to treat a traumatic fracture of the toe.

  • Splinting. The toe may be fitted with a splint to keep it in a fixed position.

  • Rigid or stiff-soled shoe. Wearing a stiff-soled shoe protects the toe and helps keep it properly positioned.

  • “Buddy taping” the fractured toe to another toe is sometimes appropriate, but in other cases it may be harmful.

  • Surgery. If the break is badly displaced or if the joint is affected, surgery may be necessary. Surgery often involves the use of fixation devices, such as pins.

Please contact our office in Irvine or Huntington Beach in Orange County, CA to make an appointment with our foot and ankle surgeon / podiatrist (Dr. Coyer) to have your toe fracture in Irvine, CA fully evaluated and treated.

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