A dislocated toe is a painful injury that causes the toe bones to become misaligned. This type of injury is common, and usually arises as a result of bending the toe too far backward.
Stubbing your toe on a hard object can force the toe bone out of its proper position, and cause swelling and bruising on the affected area. You will know right away that you have injured your toe because it will look crooked, and the pain will start almost instantly.
The pain and difficulty of moving your toe can persist for a few days up to several weeks, which is why it is important to seek medical attention to have a professional closely examine the injured toe.
To reduce your pain levels immediately, you must follow the P.R.I.C.E principle:
Protect the injured toe from further injury by using a cane or crutch for walking. You can also strap the toe with an elastic bandage to add a layer of protection. If you are not sure how to properly do this, go straight to the emergency and have a doctor place a splint on your toe.
Rest is another important step for healing. In the first few hours after you injured your toe, avoid walking on it too much, and take off your shoes if they are too tight and do not allow for movement. Resting for recovery is beneficial when it is not too restrictive, meaning you still work the rest of your body, while allowing the injured part to rest.
Ice is recommended to reduce swelling and pain on the injured toe. Place a towel over your toe, and apply a covered ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes with intervals of 30 minutes to an hour.
Compression is the use of compression bandages to loosen up the veins and minimize swelling. By applying an external force to the toe in the first 24 to 48 hours following the injury, you are providing the affected area with mild support.
When applying a compression bandage, make sure that you start a few inches below the toe, and that you continue to wrap the bandage in a spiral manner until it is a few inches above the injured part. If the compression wrap feels too restrictive, simply loosen it before you sleep, and re-apply it the following morning.
Elevate the injured toe a few inches above the level of your heart to move the fluid away from the injured extremity. Doing this will help alleviate pain, and speed up your recovery.
Using a Physiotherapy for Dislocated Toe
Physiotherapy is a helpful rehabilitation program that is designed to minimize pain from foot injuries including dislocated toes. To receive a proper diagnosis, you will need to answer questions about your symptoms, as well as the mechanism of your toe injury.
After the initial assessment, your physiotherapist will perform a clinical examination to evaluate your toe’s muscle function and movement. Performing this examination will help your physiotherapist to work with you in creating an individualized treatment plan that will help you achieve your functional goals.
Your treatment program may include:
You can lose strength in the muscles around your foot, ankle, and leg after a dislocated toe injury because of the restrictions in the weight-bearing activities that you can engage in. Because a lack of physical exercise causes a significant decrease in muscle strength, you may have a challenging time with functional mobility. As part of your treatment, your physiotherapist will guide you in performing specific exercises that will help you achieve functional improvements.
Range of Motion Exercises
Doing range of motion exercises will help improve your joint function as well as your strength and balance. Range of motion refers to the movement potential of a joint. There are several factors affecting your range of motion including injury and a general lack of physical activity. To restore unrestrained movement on your foot and ankles after a dislocated toe, your physiotherapist may prescribe range of motion exercises.
This can include active-assistive range of motion exercises where you do movements with a little help from your physiotherapist. Your therapist may also suggest passive range of motion exercises where you are not required to perform any movement, as your therapist moves your joints gently and slowly to their full available range of motion. During a passive ROM exercise, you can passively move your limb to stretch a joint.
Many physiotherapists use manual therapy to eliminate pain and improve a patient’s strength. Manual therapy relies on pressure delivered with the hands, rather than with a machine or device. Manual therapy is especially beneficial in decreasing muscle stiffness on the joints of your foot. With decreased muscle tension on your foot, you can slowly mobilize the affected toe.
Ready to See A Physiotherapist?
Our Physio’s have a special interest in diagnosing and recovering from any dislocation. At Trained Physio & Fitness we are located conveniently in East Perth, just a short drive from the CBD, and have helped hundreds of customers with recovering from injuries such as dislocated toes.
We offer a gap free 20 minute consult for new patients with private health insurance and this is the perfect opportunity for you to see our qualified Physiotherapists who will help diagnose and implement a successful recovery strategy for your unique circumstances. Simply book online, it takes less than a few minutes, or call directly and speak to our team about how we can help you feel your best again.