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Single toe fracture in children

Patient information A-Z

What is a toe fracture?

Your child has broken one of the toes in their foot. A fractured toe is a common injury and is usually caused by dropping a heavy object on their foot or by stubbing their toe against something.

On the right is a X-ray of single toe fracture and on the left is a boot to wear for a fractured toe

You child’s broken toe will be strapped to the toe next to it, acting as a support splint whilst the fracture heals. The strapping/ tape can be changed at home if it becomes wet or dirty and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. This is a minor fracture and will not need a plaster cast. Your child may be given a special boot to wear for up to six weeks.

These fractures may take several weeks to heal, and sometimes your child may have some pain and swelling for between three and six months.

Swelling and bruising at the injury/ fracture site is normal. Simple pain relief, such as Calpol and Nurofen, (if tolerated) can be given. Elevating the foot to drain the swelling away from the area and applying ice to the foot will help to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied, wrapped in a damp tea towel, for 20 minutes three to four times a day.

  • You should give your child pain relief as needed to help keep pain levels under control.
  • You should use ice, and raise your child's foot on a pillow to bring the swelling down.
  • You should encourage your child to wear the special boot, if provided. This can be removed at night for sleeping, having a bath/ shower or if they are sitting down with their foot raised up.
  • You should encourage your child to walk in the special boot, if provided, as their pain allows them.
  • You should encourage your child to wiggle their toes and make circles with their foot to help stop the ankle from getting stiff.
  • Your child should not take part in any sports or other activities which may hurt their foot more. The nurse in the clinic will tell you when they can start these activities again.

If your child’s condition is not improving, or if their pain relief is not adequate, please contact your GP. If their condition is worsening, please contact the multi-professional fracture clinic on 01223 348299 or 01223 257095.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151