Your toes play a crucial role in helping you run, walk and stay upright, but because we rely on them so frequently to help us get around, they are also oftentimes a source of injury. When an issue develops in your toe, one of your body’s natural responses is to swell in order to bring extra fluid and white body cells to the area to help with the healing process. So while this swelling can help in the long run, it’s also an indication that there’s an issue that requires your attention. In this blog, we explain why you may be dealing with swollen toes, and we share tips for treating the problem.
Causes and Symptoms Of Swollen Toes
One of the most common reasons people suffer from swollen toes is as a result of direct trauma to the area. If you stub your toe on a chair or you drop something heavy on your toe, odds are it’s going to be a little puffy for at least a few days. Swelling can also develop as a result of the repetitive forces of running or jumping that are common in athletic activity.
Other causes of swelling and related symptoms in the toe may include:
Complications from Diabetes
Diagnosing and Treating Swollen Toes
If you injure your toe and the pain isn’t all that bad, odds are you can handle the swelling on your own. Sticking with RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, are great ways to help limit swelling and let healing run its course. However, if you believe you’re dealing with a more serious condition, like a fracture, arthritis or bunions, your best bet is to set up an appointment with a foot specialist like Dr. Silverman.
During this appointment, we’ll review your medical history, take a look at your toe and ask you to perform some movement exercises. These movement-based activities give us a better idea of which areas are affected by your injury. We’ll likely have a good idea what’s going on in your foot based on listening to your explanation of events and by conducting our physical exam, but we may opt to confirm our suspicions through imaging tests. An x-ray, MRI or ultrasound can help us pinpoint exactly what’s going on in your toe.
Once a diagnosis has been made, we’ll move onto treatment strategies. Conservative care options like RICE, gentle stretching, exercise, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications can help work wonders for certain causes of swelling, but they may not treat all causes. For swollen toes that require more hands-on care, antibiotics, injections and minimally invasive operations can help address the root issue that’s causing the swelling. Most patients never need this level of care, but it’s nice to know we can provide it if need be.
So if you’ve noticed that one or more of your toes is swollen and it’s just not going away on its own, reach out to Dr. Silverman and the team at Silverman Ankle & Foot to get a diagnosis and to get set up with a treatment plan today.