What Does A Dislocated Toe Look Like & How To Treat It At Home?

Toes are small part of the body, but they can cause lot of trouble if they are sprained, broken or dislocated. A toe is said to be dislocated when the toe bone moves out of its normal joint space. This occurs when the ligament which holds the toe joint is torn. Pain and swelling of the affected toe are apparent soon after dislocation. There is visible misalignment.

Toe bone is difficult to get dislocated easily unless it has been subjected to strong blow or a direct impact. A sprained toe can also sometimes move out of its place.

People who play sports like football, rugby, hockey etc are often victims of dislocated toe. After the history of injury and subsequent pain, treatment should be sort as soon as possible.

A quick alignment of dislocated toe helps the toe joint to reset easily. It may take 6 weeks for the torn ligament to heal. During this period protect your toe from getting re-injured.

Symptoms Of Dislocated Toe

Diagnosis of dislocated toe sometimes becomes difficult because the symptoms are often similar to broken toe or a sprained toe. Pain is the first symptom soon after the dislocation of toe.

There is intense pain when the person tries to move the affected toe. The person cannot even bear slightest pressure on the toe.

The dislocated toe becomes stiff and hard. It becomes pale and cool as the blood vessels of the toe may be damaged. There is visible swelling and bruising of the dislocated toe. Patient finds difficulty while walking. In severe dislocation the toe deformity is easily visible.

The toe bone can be seen out of place of its normal alignment. If the nerves are damaged patient may have a feeling of numbness after a while. Pain due to dislocated toe is not as severe as broken toe bone.

How To Treat A Dislocated Toe At Home?

The preliminary treatment of a dislocated toe begins at home. However, in case if it is not possible to align and straighten the toe in one attempt at home, you have to seek immediate medical aid.

The treatment can be carried out at home in first six hours after toe dislocation. However, if six hours have passed, it is advisable to seek medical treatment as attempting self adjustment may do more harm than good. This is because the tissues and ligaments may lose it elasticity for realignment of the dislocated toe.

If you find your toe has become crooked or moved out its place, there is a possibility that you might be able to straighten it yourself. You can do it by gently pulling the toe away from the foot. This way you will be able to straighten the dislocated toe and allow it to return back to its normal alignment. The procedure is painful and it should be done in one attempt swiftly to minimize the damage to ligament and bone.

Once the toe becomes straight and you are sure it has snapped back in its normal position, take a tape or a thin fabric and tie it gently with the adjacent toe. The adjacent toe will give support to the injured toe. Ensure that you do not tie too tight as this may compromise blood circulation.

The next is R.I.C.E. treatment; rest, ice fomentation, compression and elevation.

  • Rest: Rest is essential for few days for the dislocated toe to reset itself. Avoid walking or giving excessive pressure on foot.
  • Ice: Apply ice before and after dislocation for few minutes. It will help to reduce swelling and bruising. Besides, ice fomentation will also alleviate pain. Apply ice placed in a clean cloth and gently rub over the toe for 10 minutes. This should be followed after every 2 to 3 hours interval.
  • Compression: A compression bandage can be applied to reduce swelling and pain. However, it should not be too tight as it may affect blood circulation.
  • Elevation: Keep your foot elevated while you are taking rest. This will help to reduce swelling.

Treatment For A Dislocated Toe

If the initial six hours have passed after dislocation of the toe or if your attempt to correct dislocation has failed, or if you do not want to attempt any maneuver at home, consult your doctor.

Your doctor will recommend X-ray, MRI or any other investigations necessary to diagnose dislocation if he also suspects broken toe bone. Your doctor will then realign the toe with conservative techniques.