The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NBA News: Former Brooklyn Nets Starter Shaun Livingston Recalls Playing Through A Broken Toe

Posted by on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015


Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is our first priority when you arrive at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City. Gathering your medical history, interviewing you about your symptoms, and performing a physical exam is important, but we also get the diagnostic images to fully determine the extent of your injuries. Some soft tissue injuries and stress fractures may not be visible in conventional X-Rays, which is why we may order MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, or arthrography for a closer look. Shaun Livingston, a former Brooklyn Nets player, is the perfect example, illustrating just how important diagnosing can be.

broken toe
Shaun Livingston found out the perils of playing on a broken toe — the hard way. (Image Source: Claire Powers from Fairfax, VA, USA – Wizards Game. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

About Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston is one of those rare professional basketball players who skipped a college career to head straight to the pros. In 2004, he was the fourth overall pick by the LA Clippers. After taking time off for a knee injury, he’s played for top teams like the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Milwaukee Bucks. Most recently, he took the Brooklyn Nets to the second round of the playoffs last season and averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals. Last summer, he secured a free agent deal with the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, shortly after he was signed, it was discovered he needed toe surgery due to a missed broken toe diagnosis.

Shaun Livingston’s Broken Toe Saga

Back in July, it was reported that Shaun Livingston would wear a cast and miss 3-4 weeks with a “sprained toe.” Then, in August, it was reported he’d miss another 6-8 weeks after having arthroscopic surgery and scar tissue debridement on his right big toe. The procedure was done at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys by Dr. Richard Ferkel. He was put in a toe splint for three weeks.

Big toe surgery is extremely rare, but necessary when the toe is unable to heal properly on its own. Livingston sustained further damage when he continued to play long and hard—for a total of 326 minutes over 12 playoff games—following his toe fracture. Naturally, a serious injury like that caused him a good deal of pain, but he struggled through using cortisone shots.

“I don’t want to say I was misdiagnosed, but they couldn’t really figure out the issue,” he told the media. “They did all these MRIs and X-rays and it still hurt. They eventually found a lot of scar tissue because once I broke it, I continued to play on it in the playoffs.”

Broken Toe Diagnosis & Treatment

Small cracks can become a big problem if the toe is not given enough time for healing. Typically, it takes 2.5 months for a toe fracture to fully heal. During that time, patients are advised to rest, ice the toe, and elevate it as much as possible. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers can take the edge off the ache, and a NY podiatrist can splint or tape the toe in a fixed position while it heals. The podiatrist may also recommend a post-op shoe to stabilize the foot and prevent re-injury. If you are unsure whether you may have fractured or sprained your toe, ask yourself these questions and come in to see one of our New York broken toe injury specialists.

Fear You May Have A Broken Toe In NYC?

A trip to The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan or White Plains can settle the debate once and for all. We can schedule you to see a NY podiatrist immediately for an accurate broken toe diagnosis and treatment plan that will minimize long-term risks like arthritis or infection. Contact us for prompt scheduling.


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.