Sprains can occur anytime affecting any body part. Toes are vulnerable to sprains too. A toe sprain can happen any time one is not even aware of being knocked till the time when there is severe discomfort as there are numerous nerves connected to toes. At times the individual might find it difficult to deal with the inconvenience.
In this article, we will discuss sprained toes and various aspects related to them.
Trauma or hyperextension of the toe which happens from the injury that occurs due to a sprained toe. These injuries can happen due to unintentional hitting of the toes with some hard surfaces.
It also happens when a nerve extension is extended beyond the normal motion range. Ligaments connected to nerves get injured causing sprains.
Sprained Toe Symptoms:
Sprained toes can be discomforting. There are different types of symptoms. The various symptoms are:
- Pain in the toe
- Difficulty while walking
- Discomfort in moving the toe
Sprained Toe Categories
The toe sprains can be categorized further depending on the grades they fall into. The grades are mainly decided depending on the range of pain from minor to major. Which depends upon the severity of the injury.
The mild sprain injuries fall under grade 1. A mild sprain occurs due to a ligament getting stretched or some very small tear. The individual feels tenderness in the toe and mild swelling.
Moderate sprain falls under grade 2. There is a partial tear of the ligament. There is tenderness and swelling which is more noticeable in comparison to grade 1.
When there is a severe sprain it falls under grade 3. This injury occurs when the ligament is completely torn. Symptoms of this grade include swelling, pain, and tenderness. Which could be highly unbearable to handle.
Sprained Toe Causes:
There could be various reasons behind a sprained toe ranging from getting an accidental knockdown of the toe which stretches too far from the natural range or in a totally opposite direction from the normal range.
It can happen when the toe gets bumped, turning it in another direction or under the foot. Sometimes the toe can get twisted while walking or running.
Toes can also get sprained when an individual gets tripped while doing different activities. Sports injuries can several times result in sprained toes.
Sprained Toe Treatment:
The treatment of the sprained toe highly depends on the grade it falls in.
The grade1 or minor toe sprains can be easily treated at home. It will take time but the symptoms will fade away in a few days.
For this mainly RICE treatment is used which stands for rest, icing, compression, and elevation. It goes in the following format:
It is advised to rest as much as possible. As movement will put pressure on the injured toes. Walking or doing any other movement will put extra stress and cause more discomfort which can be avoided by rest only.
Ice packs can be used which will provide relief from tenderness, pain, and swelling. This can be applied a few times a day as long as there is no relief.
Compression works as a support to the injured toe. The sprained toe is taped to a healthy toe. The tape should be nicely wrapped neither tight nor loose. The whole idea is to provide stability to the sprained toe.
To get rid of pain and swelling the sprained toe should be kept at a particular height. One can use a pillow to keep it elevated. This will aid the healing process.
For grade 2 sprained toe injuries pain relievers can be taken but only after taking doctor’s advice. He may recommend special shoes to keep feet free from any kind of excess pressure and provide stability while moving.
In the case of grade 3 which is the most severe out of all surgical measures may be advised by the medical practitioners.
Sprained Toe Recovery:
The recovery time may depend mainly on the grade of toe sprain one is suffering from. On average the recovery takes place between 3-6 weeks.
Avoid any kind of strenuous activities and take rest as far as possible. Closely monitor the progress. Once the pain fades away one can return to normal routine. Still, high-level activities like sports should be avoided.
In case the symptoms prevail for more than 8 weeks it’s advised to see the doctor.
Sprained Toe Exercises:
Sprained toes can be relaxed by doing simple exercises which can help the nerves relax and will wave off the tenderness.
With time it will provide relief from swelling and pain too. The various exercises which can help in providing relief are:
Frozen can roll:
For doing this exercise take a frozen juice can and keep it under the injured area being barefoot. Now keep moving the foot back and forth. Continue for 2-3 minutes.
Sit down on a surface that should be hard enough. Now keep the leg stretched in front which has an injured toe.
Loop a towel around the ankle and the toes and keep the leg straight. Hold and stay in the same position for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times.
Great toe flexion stretch
For doing the exercise sit in the chair keeping the sprained toe across the other knee.
Hold the foot from the heel with one hand and then push the toe down with the other hand.
Hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Repeat the whole exercise for 2-4 times.
Sprained big toe vs. broken big toe:
Sprained toe and a broken toe can be differentiated depending on the level of mobility the toe has. Due to discomfort a broken toe has no mobility. Whereas a sprained toe is quite painful but can be moved.
This factor can let one decide if the toe is sprained or broken.
The Bottom Line:
As discussed above Sprained Toe can be a testing situation for an individual. It takes time to heal. Depending upon the grade of the toe sprain one can take treatment and get healed. After recovering, proper care should be taken for weeks avoiding any kind of strenuous activities.
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