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Toe Surgery for Fractures

June 24, 2020

Orthopedic surgeon performing examination on football player

Toe fractures are extremely common. In many cases, surgery is not required to correct the issue. However, if the foot is unstable, or if several metatarsals have been fractured at the same time, toe surgery is necessary for proper healing and improved quality of life. Our doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin provide advanced toe surgery for fractures. In this blog post, our Austin, TX, team will discuss toe surgery treatment as well as symptoms, diagnosis, and recovery.

Symptoms of Toe Fractures

Toe fractures may be caused by a number of factors, including falls, sporting injuries, or even stubbing your toe while barefoot. No matter what the cause, a broken toe may exhibit one or more of these symptoms:

  • Pain and discomfort, especially when bearing weight
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Bruising or discoloration that extends to nearby areas

If you notice any of these warning signs, call our Austin practice right away. Our surgeons can perform a full evaluation to determine appropriate treatment. In the meantime, we recommend that patients:

  • Elevate the foot as much as possible
  • Apply ice or cold compresses to reduce swelling
  • Stay off the foot or limit weight bearing
  • Gently wrap the foot in a soft compressive bandage

Diagnosis: What to Expect

When you arrive to our practice, your surgeon will perform a visual assessment and palpate the area for tenderness. In addition, the surrounding skin will be evaluated to ensure that it is still receiving adequate nerve signals and blood flow. Lastly, x-rays will be taken to determine the extent of damage.

Toe Surgery Procedure

The most common type of surgery for toe fractures is open reduction and internal fixation. To begin the procedure, your surgeon will administer regional anesthesia. In many cases, sedation is also provided.

Next, a small incision is created down the length of your toe to access the fractured areas. Your surgeon then places the bone fragments in their correct positions, then secures them into place using surgical screws, plates, or rods.

Finally, the incisions are closed with surgical staples or sutures. The area is then covered with a surgical dressing and protected with a cast or a splint.

The length of surgery depends on the extent of damage. But in most cases, toe surgery can be completed in about two hours.

Recovery after Toe Surgery

A severely fractured toe can take upwards of six to eight weeks to heal. During this time, your doctor will take x-rays to ensure the area is healing properly.

Be sure to avoid exercise until your surgeon clears you. Resuming activity too soon can increase the risk for re-injury.

Swelling and inflammation may linger for several months. This is a normal side effect and is not a cause for concern. However, following all recommended guidelines will help you enjoy a comfortable, successful recovery.

Contact Our Practice to Learn More

If you suspect that you have sustained a toe fracture, schedule an appointment at our Austin practice. Our knowledgeable doctors can determine an appropriate treatment plan for you. Call us at (512) 476-2830 or contact us online anytime.