The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Uh Oh, I Stubbed My Toe

Posted by on Monday, May 21st, 2012


Ahh, what a beautiful day for a walk! I think I’ll just put on my open-toed sandals and go for a stroll to enjoy this lovely spring day. Why look! A butterfly! Isn’t it–OWWW!! OWWW!! OWWW!!

Gosh darn the Hendersons and their stupid rock garden next to their mailbox. One of those rocks just came up out of nowhere and attacked my little toe. Now I am suffering from excruciating pain because…I Have Stubbed My Toe.

Note: Re-enactment of the Henderson Stubbed Toe Incident was performed by experienced stunt people. Do not try this at home. If you do, though, keep reading to find out more about stubbed toes.

A stubbed toe is seemingly a silly injury, one that is easily dismissed, but it deserves less scorn than it gets. A stub, which occurs when you bang your toe into or against something (furniture, packing boxes, the Henderson’s rock garden), is essentially a sprain or strain. Now if you said you sprained your ankles, or wrist, or back, people would nod in sympathy, and expect you to limp or linger with ice on the injured area. A stubbed toe will usually generate little more than an eye roll, but it deserves equal injury credibility with sprains. And don’t snicker at the sight of your friend hopping around holding his or her toe, screaming in pain. People have a lot of nerve endings in their toes, so when a toe undergoes what appears to be even a minor trauma, it can hurt a lot. I mean, a lot. Your hopping, screaming friend isn’t being a drama queen–he or she has earned that reaction (and come on, it’s happened to all of us, and not just when we were wee little things).  

Okay, now that we’ve established that there’s nothing wrong with crying when you’ve stubbed your toe, what should you do about it? Try the following:

  • Ice the injured area for about 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day
  • Take anti-inflammatories for the pain and swelling
  • Wear roomy shoes that don’t squash your toe
  • Clean and bandage any areas where the skin is broken

This will take care of a stubbed toe within a day or two, and you should be up and running in no time. However, if the toe gets more swollen, or if it turns black and blue, your toe may be broken. If you suspect this is the case, see a doctor as soon as possible. A podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) will be able to give you an exact diagnosis and propose a course of treatment that will help your toe heal the right way. Even if your toe isn’t broken, be on the lookout for any signs of infection if you cut your toe while stubbing it. And of course, if you’re diabetic, go see your podiatrist if you have any kind of accident involving your toes, no matter how minor you think it might be.

That’s not bad advice for any of us, actually. If you suspect there’s anything wrong with your feet or toes, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.




If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.