The Untreatable Toe Fracture
I don’t really know how much cold the nuclear winter dished out last week; I was on greener pastures in a warmer climate, in a magical place full of kingdoms and castles. It’s a safe bet, however, that the NYC weather was true to form and miserable as usual, which like a bad dream eventually will end. Which brings us to the topic of another exciting and fun filled blog - can anything be done for a toe fracture?
As we have previously discussed in the annals of this hallowed NYC podiatry blog, the most commonly fractured bone in the foot is the lowly toe. And it’s not usually anything glorious - more like hitting the bedpost on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Of the three bones in the bones in the toes, the proximal phalanx, which is the biggest bone and closest to the ball of the foot, absorbs the force of impact. This creates a torqueing motion, leading to an oblique fracture pattern easily discernible to even the most novice NYC podiatrist and instantly recognizable to those who have had the misfortune of having the experience. However, many will wonder: what is the point of going to the doctor if there is nothing that can be done?
Well, that may be true in some other offices, but in my office we work miracles, I tell you - miracles! But seriously folks, a non-displaced toe fracture in which there is good alignment of the fracture fragments is usually treated by taping the toe to the adjacent toe for 3-4 weeks, and then waiting a few more weeks to months for the swelling to subside. A displaced toe fracture, which is not very common, can usually be treated in the office with manipulation of the fragments back into place under local anesthesia. Toe fractures requiring surgery are exceedingly rare. However, it is always a good idea to have the injury examined by your friendly local NYC podiatrist, and no I’m not just telling you that because I like to collect the co-pay (I don’t, by the way). Without ascertaining the diagnosis, there is no good way to determine the prognosis and treatment. In other words, don’t assume there is no other treatment, or that holding two toes together with duct tape will suffice. It’s far better and easier to treat injuries in the early stages than after they have healed in poor alignment for a significant period of time.
So if you’ve had a bad night, or someone left their shoes in the middle of the bedroom, don’t just ignore it or tape it up, for through the magic of X-rays, we can now see inside your feet all the way to the bones, and work some miracles on Park Avenue.
See you in the office.