A toe sprain is one of the less common sports related injuries, but it can be just as much of a nuisance as any other sprain. As with any sprain, the treatment follows several easy steps. The main problem with a toe sprain is that it’s hard to rest the toe, especially since you probably won’t be using crutches for an injury like this. But if you follow the tips below your sprain should heal in a timely manner.
A toe sprain is usually caused by an overwhelming stress that has been placed on the ligaments and tendons. These are the fibers that allow your muscles to move your limbs. When you stretch them too far you will often get tearing or extreme stretching of the fiber. Toe sprains are often caused by stubbing it on another object, landing in an awkward position, or straining it through a sudden change in motion when running/walking.
The symptoms of a toe sprain are like any other joint sprain. Check out this list to help identify whether your toe is sprained.
- Swelling/bruising of the toe joint
- Pain when the joint is moved
- Limited motion of the joint
If you have any of these, you’ve probably got a sprain. If your toe is in an excruciating amount of pain I would recommend that you go to a doctor. Unbearable pain could be a sign of a broken bone. If you think you just have a sprain, follow the tips below.
In one of my previous articles I mentioned the acronym, R-I-C-E. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I’ll cover each of these below.
Rest – This is a pretty obvious one. When you have a sprain, the last thing you want to do is move the joint. This could cause further damage, thus prolonging the injury period. Be sure to keep your toe still for at least a week after the initial injury.
Ice – Put ice on the injury as soon as possible. Ice prevents swelling and excess pain. Use the 20/40 rule with ice. 20 minutes with ice on, and 40 minutes with ice off each hour.
Compression – If you wrap the joint in a bandage, or with tape, you’ll find that the pain should decrease a bit. This is because the extra support of the bandage keeps the joint from moving unexpectedly. Try taping your injured toe to the one next to it (similar to taping injured fingers). This will help keep everything in place.
Check out the image for an example on how you can wrap your toes together for support. It’s a pretty simple setup with soft padding in the middle and medical tape holding the toes together. This give a lot of support and stability, and it should help keep you from hurting your toe again.
Elevation – This one isn’t quite as important for toe injuries, but it can never hurt to use it. Keep the injured foot elevated to keep blood from rushing down and pooling near the injury site. This will prevent swelling and pain.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles, you can use some sort of painkiller if you wish to help reduce any excess pain you might have. You should also make sure you have shoes with strong support for your toe to help prevent further injury. That’s about it for a toe sprain. Hope this helped.