Did I Break My Toe or Is It Just Bruised?

Feet on a rug

As humans, we’re bound to put our good bones to use. What we tend to miss are the obstacles (fun, even) life throws at them. And still, when it comes to bruising versus broken, we scramble for answers. 

It’s easy to get injured—what with our various activities of our daily life like sports and accidents. Injuries to our toes are common. Sometimes, we confuse whether our toe is broken or bruised when we get hurt. In this article, we’ll share what we know.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Broken Toe and a Bruised Toe? 

It can be tough to distinguish between a broken and bruised toe. Both injuries can cause pain, swelling, and discoloration. But there are a few ways to tell them apart. You’ll usually experience more intense pain and swelling with a broken toe. The bone will also be visibly damaged. A bruised toe, on the other hand, will typically cause less severe pain and swelling. And the discoloration will be less prominent. 

Here are a few tips to help you figure out the difference between a broken toe and a bruised toe: 

  • If your toe is swollen and painful to the touch, it’s most likely broken. 
  • If your toe is bent in an odd direction, it’s more likely broken. 
  • If you can’t move your toe, it’s almost definitely broken. 
  • If your toe is discolored or has a black streak running down the center, it’s probably bruised. 

If you’re unsure which injury you have, it’s always best to see a doctor. They’ll be able to give you a diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment. 

What Should You Do if You Think You Have a Broken Toe? 

  • Apply ice to the toe to reduce swelling. 
  • Avoid putting weight on the toe. 
  • Elevate the foot to minimize swelling. 
  • If the pain is severe, take ibuprofen for relief. 
  • See a doctor as soon as possible. 

The sooner you get treatment for a broken toe, the better. You may experience complications such as infection or joint damage if left untreated. 

What Should You Do if You Think You Have a Bruised Toe? 

If you think you have a bruised toe, you can do a few things to help it heal. 

First, apply ice to the area to reduce swelling. You can also take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the pain. Second, keep the toe elevated as much as possible. This will help reduce swelling and pain. 

Third, try not to walk on it. This might not be easy, but giving the toe time to heal is absolutely necessary. If your pain doesn’t improve after a few days or if it gets worse, see a doctor. 

When Should You Consult a Doctor? 

If you’re unsure whether you’ve broken your toe or just bruised it, you can do a few things to help you figure it out. First, try applying ice to the area and see if that helps reduce the swelling. If it does, then chances are you’ve just bruised your toe. But if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days, or if the swelling worsens, it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor. Another thing to remember is whether or not the injury caused any deformity. If your toe looks crooked or out of place, you’re likely to have broken it. And finally, if you’re experiencing other symptoms like fever or nausea, it’s time to see a doctor – they will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and help you to get the treatment you need.