Think You Broke Your Toe? Here’s What You Should Do

Here’s the scene: you’ve motivated yourself enough to get off the couch and shuffle toward the fridge in search of a midnight snack. Your bare feet slap the cold tile beneath you as you amble toward the treasure trove of treats in the dark. You’re almost there when suddenly – BAM! – you’ve stubbed your toes hard on a kitchen table leg. Searing pain jolts throughout your toes, blinding your other senses. In your nocturnal delirium, you’ve wondered, “Have I broken my toe? What should I do?!” If you suspect you have a broken toe, we have the answers.

What Causes a Broken Toe?

A broken toe is one of the most common podiatric injuries that we see at The Foot & Ankle Center. It usually occurs when something heavy is dropped on your foot, when toes are stubbed against a hard surface, or when you experience repeated trauma. You are also more susceptible to damage when you walk around barefoot!

How Can I Tell if a Toe is Broken?

It can be surprisingly difficult to determine if your toe is broken! Typically, the telltale signs of a broken toe include the following:

  • Intense and throbbing pain
  • Severe bruising
  • Crooked and misshapen appearance of the injured toe
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling
  • Toenail discoloration


Any pain and swelling that you experience should subside within a few days. If not, you should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist for an evaluation.

What Should I Do if I Think I Broke My Toe?

You will probably feel tempted to tape up your toe, take some painkillers, and move along with your life. This, however, is one of the worst things you could do. Any time you suspect a broken toe, you should visit your podiatrist as soon as possible. It’s possible that your toe bone may have been pulled out of alignment or pushed into an incorrect angle. If you choose not to be evaluated, you risk running into worse problems later in life like arthritis, chronic pain, infection, difficulty wearing your favorite shoes, and limited range of motion.

You may have also heard various myths about broken toes. You know, myths like there’s nothing a doctor can do to help your toe, if you can move it then it’s not broken, and toe injuries should be soaked in hot water with Epsom salts right away. These are all harmful and untrue! The right answer is to see your friendly podiatrist, who is an expert on all things feet.

What Will My Podiatrist Do for My Broken Toe?

First off, your podiatrist will more than likely use an x-ray to evaluate your toe and determine the right treatment for you. The x-ray will allow your doctor to view your toes’ bones and alignment to see if a break truly occurred. Should you have a broken toe, your podiatrist may suggest using a walking boot, hard-sole shoes, splinting, or a cast, depending on the injury. Surgery is typically reserved for severe injuries and misalignments.

What Should I Do if My Toe is Just Bruised?

Bruised toes are still plenty painful, even if they’re not broken or fractured! If you only sustained some bruising, thank your lucky stars and give your affected toe some TLC. You can use ice within the first few days for 15-20 minute intervals to help decrease swelling. Dial back your physical activities and rest your foot for a few days. If the pain persists, however, check back in with your podiatrist! Don’t let toe pain keep you down. Reach out to the friendly, knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to help you get back on your feet again! Call us today at (314) 487-9300 or request your appointment here.


When Should You See a Podiatrist about Ingrown Toenails?

Our toes are little workhorses that go through so much every day. We often don’t pay them too much attention as we shove them into our shoes, hastily clip our nails, or precariously bang them into furniture. Unfortunately, all of these instances and injuries can wind up affecting how our nails grow, resulting in pain, redness, inflammation, and something called ingrown toenails.

What are Ingrown Toenails?

When the front edge or side of your toenails begin digging painfully into your soft tissue, you’re experiencing ingrown toenails. It’s the most common nail problem and usually leads to irritation and a great deal of discomfort. Typically, the big toe most commonly suffers from this condition, but other toes can be affected as well. While an ingrown toenail often starts out as tender to the touch, it can quickly become a painful predicament.

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

An ingrown toenail can develop for several reasons. Some of the biggest culprits include:

  • Trimming your nails improperly or too short
  • Repeated trauma to the toes such as stubbing, dropping a heavy item on your foot, or experiencing an injury to the toes during a fall
  • Ill-fitting shoes that crowd or pinch your toes
  • Hereditary factors

What are the Symptoms?

Initially, any symptoms you may experience with an ingrown toenail are usually mild and may include minor discomfort when you touch the affected nail or wiggle your toes. As the condition worsens, however, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Increasing pain, even when you’re not touching the area
  • Redness and swelling of the affected toe
  • Prominent skin tissue
  • Weeping drainage or pus

How Can You Prevent Ingrown Toenails?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help your toenails remain healthy and happy! Make these changes to your lifestyle if you haven’t already:

  • Trim your nails properly. You should cut them straight across, rather than curving them along the toes. After cutting them, use an emery board to shape them.
  • Trim your toenails frequently and don’t cut them too short.
  • Never rip or tear the edges of your nails! Use a nail clipper or emery board instead.
  • Wear properly-fitting shoes that don’t have a pointy or narrow toe box.
  • Check your feet and nails regularly. If you have diabetes, check them every day.

When Should You See a Podiatrist?

The short answer to this question is anytime. The knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center can assess and address your ingrown toenail properly and help you find relief. However, if you experience the following, definitely make an appointment with us as soon as you can!

  • Your ingrown toenail doesn’t improve after a few days of self-care at home.
  • You’re experiencing frequent and intense pain.
  • Your affected toenail is impairing your movement.
  • You notice any drainage, excessive redness, or swelling around the toenail. These are possible signs of infection and should be addressed right away.
  • Your ingrown toenail keeps returning.
  • You suffer from diabetes or other conditions that cause poor circulation.

Rely on the Doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center Many people who have ingrown toenails or other nail issues are often too embarrassed to ask for help or make an appointment with a specialist. You don’t have to live like this! Our friendly doctors have the expertise and technology to help you find lasting relief from your ingrown toenail. Schedule an appointment with us today by calling (314) 487-9300 and start loving your toes again!


This is Why You Should Stretch Your Feet and Toes Frequently

You’ve probably heard how important stretching your limbs is before and after a workout. But what about your feet? These hard workers have the important (and arduous) job of supporting our entire body weight anytime we walk, run, or exercise. Give these unsung heroes what they truly need and stretch your feet and toes frequently, every single day!

Why is Stretching So Important for My Feet?

We’re glad you asked. There are so many benefits you can experience when you take the time to properly stretch and flex your feet and toes! Here’s what you stand to gain from frequent stretching:

  • An improved range of motion in your feet and ankles
  • Greater flexibility, which may provide additional support
  • A reduction in any mild foot pain you may have
  • The management (and possible prevention!) of plantar fasciitis
  • Increased blood flow to your lower extremities
  • Stronger feet and ankles that are less prone to injury

Great, So How Should I Stretch My Feet?

It’s easy! There are a few effective stretches that you can do from the comfort of your couch, while you’re at work, or even when you first wake up in the morning. Try raising your heels up and down while sitting in a chair, pointing and flexing your toes, and spreading your toes as far apart as you’re able! Repeat these exercises a handful of times in a row to experience the benefits.

You can also roll a cylindrical object like a water bottle or foam roller back and forth under your feet. Rolling a tennis or golf ball under your feet with some pressure is also a good way to work your feet! If you want to raise the bar, grab a towel, fold it length-wise, place it between the ball of your foot and heel, and pull with both of your hands for 15 seconds per foot. This will help stretch out your hardworking Achilles tendons!

Experiencing Pain? Here’s What You Should Do It’s important to remember to not overextend your muscles. Start stretching slowly at first – as your body accommodates to the movements, you’ll be able to work your way up. Feeling pain is not the aim here, so if stretching hurts, stop, rest, and reach out to the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center. We can help treat any kind of heel pain you may be having! Call us at (314) 487-9300 or visit us online at www.facstl.com to set up your appointment with us.


12 Smart Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy all Summer Long!

Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to free your feet and enjoy all that the season has to offer! Unfortunately, summer can be hard on your feet, thanks to the sun, poolside activities, various types of footwear, and much more. By taking these easy precautions, however, your feet will remain healthy and happy throughout the hot summer months and beyond:

Wear the Right Footwear

We know you’ll want to be wearing flip-flops, but you’re better off choosing well-fitting shoes that properly support you. You’ll help prevent injuries and decrease your odds of developing bacterial infections on your feet and toes. If you really must wear flip-flops, choose styles with good arch and heel support, and don’t walk in them for long distances.

Apply Sunscreen to Your Feet

You remembered to put sunscreen on your shoulders, face, and even the tips of your ears, but what about your feet? Even your ankles and the tops of your feet need protection from the sun’s harmful rays! Choose a sunscreen with 30 SPF or more to help prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging in the skin. Remember to reapply it every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating, even if you’re just dangling your feet into a pool.

Drink Plenty of Water

When your body becomes dehydrated, your feet are usually the first to suffer the consequences. Remember to stay hydrated, especially during the hottest parts of the day, to help minimize foot swelling and flush out toxins. Sick of plain water? Enjoy plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, cottage cheese, and other water-rich foods to remain hydrated!

Try an Epsom Salts Soak

After a long day of outdoor adventuring, your sore feet deserve some pampering. Prepare a tub of warm water and sprinkle a small amount of Epsom salts to treat your feet! Soaking for 15-20 minutes twice a week can help relax the tissues, release toxins, and help calm you as well.

Prevent Blisters

Let’s face it – no one likes blisters. Do your best to avoid them by breaking in your new pairs of shoes before you head outside. Should you wind up with a blister, wash the area with soap and water and cover the blister with moleskin or a liquid bandage product to help reduce friction.

Moisturize Your Feet

That’s right, even feet need to be moisturized, especially during the summer when they are exposed to the elements. Doing so will help prevent cracked heels and keep your feet feeling smooth. Take a few moments to moisturize them each night before bed to lock in much-needed moisture.

Inspect Them Frequently

Keep tabs on your toes at all times this summer! You’ll want to inspect your feet, heels, and ankles for any cuts and scrapes, especially if you have diabetes. Don’t forget to check your toenails for signs of ingrown nails, fungal infections, or athlete’s foot as well.

Wear Shoes Poolside

We know, it’s tempting to kick off your shoes when you’re heading to and from the pool, but resist the urge and keep wearing them! Donning your feet with flip-flops or shower shoes around the pool or in the locker room (and even in your hotel room) can help prevent injuries and pesky fungal infections.

Let Them Air Out

Of course, your feet can’t be trapped inside shoes 24/7. Give them some breathing room by wearing supportive open-toed shoes or sandals. We also suggest taking your shoes off every once in a while throughout the day to keep your feet happy and dry.

Clean Them After Any Water Activity

Did you just finish wading around in a lake or river? Before you put your socks and shoes back on, take a moment to rinse your feet with clean water and pat them completely dry. Stagnant water is the ideal place for bacteria, which could make themselves at home on your unsuspecting feet.

Pamper Yourself with a Pedicure

Treat your feet to some at-home TLC! Giving yourself a pedicure helps remove dead, flaky skin cells, cleanses your feet, and makes them look better than ever. Grab a pumice stone, emery board, sterilized nail clippers, and a towel to help your toes look and feel amazing!

Be Prepared for Emergencies

No matter how hard you try, accidents will still happen. Be prepared with a handy emergency kit for your feet! Fill a small kit with sterile bandages, antibiotic cream, blister pads, anti-inflammatory medications, clippers, sunscreen, aloe vera, and emollient-enriched cream to keep your feet protected, no matter where you are. Don’t let tired feet or bacterial infections spoil your summertime fun. Contact the friendly, knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center to help get your feet back in shape! Schedule your appointment with us by calling (314) 487-9300.


Choosing the Best Running Shoes

Whether you’re waking up for an early morning run or decide to go on an afternoon jog, a good pair of running shoes is a necessity. There’s a pair of shoes for everything when you think about it – ballerinas have slippers, hikers have boots, and runners wear running shoes. Everyone’s feet are different, so continue reading to learn how to choose the best shoes for you.

Running Shoe Basics

First, let’s take a look at the makeup of running shoes. They can be broken down into their essential parts to prevent injury:

  • Ankle collars – secure the foot in a shoe by fitting snuggly around the ankle.
  • Heel counters – reinforce the heel while providing support.
  • Midsoles – absorb shock from each heel strike while running.
  • Outer soles – provide traction for the bottom of the shoe.

Arch Height

One component that factors into your need for particular versions of these parts is the height of your arches. Flat arches, for example, require rigid heel counters for better support through shock absorbency. It is highly recommended for people with flat feet to also use custom-molded orthotic inserts for best results.

If The Shoe Fits

As you’ve learned from growing up, your feet increase in size over time. This means that your running shoes from last year may no longer fit. Check out these three easy steps in which to determine your shoe size. The proper fitting of shoes for your feet is approximately half an inch longer than your big toe with a comfortable width.

Different Pairs for New Surfaces

Do you prefer to run on the road, in the dirt, or at the gym? Each place has a different surface to consider. Pavements and tracks are nice and flat while hills are steep and rocky. Your feet will require more or less support depending on the circumstance. Try purchasing multiple pairs to avoid wearing them out too quickly.

Select Support Over Style

A lot of people tend to shop for style over support – ultimately leading to discomfort, pain, and injury. It’s easy to understand wanting to have the coolest shoes in the neighborhood, but at what risk? Find a happy medium between the two and buy what works best for your feet.

Get a Recommendation from a Podiatrist

Our knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center can examine your feet and recommend a pair of running shoes just for you. They can also determine any other issues your feet may currently be experiencing. There’s a possibility that your current running shoes work well but your feet or ankles are not functioning at 100%.

Call 314-487-9300 or visit www.facstl.com to schedule an appointment today.