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bookish1's avatar

How do I know if a bone is broken?

Asked by bookish1 (13069 points ) July 25th, 2012 from iPhone

I think I might have broken a bone in one of my toes. Woke myself up from a nightmare by kicking my stupid French wooden bedframe at full force >_> I’ve never broken a bone before, but it is an intense radiating pain when I move it or put any pressure on it.

How do I know if it’s broken as opposed to bruised, and what can I do? I am broke as a joke and rationing my food, so I can’t even go get some subsidized healthcare, and I’m returning home to the US in under two weeks.

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27 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Just treat it as if it is broken – splint and stay off the foot as much as possible.

Pandora's avatar

Found a medical site about how to know if your toe is broken and how to treat it at home. Good luck, but it seems it is as @YARNLADY suggest.

Bellatrix's avatar

Splinting it is all you can do as @YARNLADY suggests. I have broken a toe in the past and it took a long time to heal. Wear shoes with plenty of room in them once it is not giving you pain for a while too. And avoid furniture. I think I must have stubbed that toe a dozen times after I broke it and of course it was weakened and hurt like hell.

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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

A broken bone will be more of an intense, but kind of dull ache, very sore to the touch if that makes sense. A bruise is more of a sharper pain at first, but it goes away in a day or too. The broken bone will be tender for 4 to 6 weeks. I’ve broken my nose, twice, an elbow, and I shattered about 3 inches of my collarbone. That last one was not fun. Like the others said, splint it, tape it to another toe, etc.

creative1's avatar

They don’t do much for a broken toe, when I broke mine I iced it alot and kept it raised for the swelling to go down. I just avoided bending it because it hurt like he@# when I did bend it on accident. It took many weeks for it not to hurt any more.

Nullo's avatar

Probably is broken. All you can really do is stay off of it, maybe tape it to its neighbor. See a doctor!
@Bellatrix Amazing, isn’t it? You don’t stub your toe for years, but once you break it it’s like it goes out of its way to be stubbed.

prasad's avatar

X ray should tell it exactly. Till then take care.

Trillian's avatar

If you hear an unpleasant crackling sound when you manipulate the digit, it’s called “crepitus” and is a definitive sign of breakage. If you can’t get it x-ray’d, you can tape it to the one next to it. That’s called a buddy splint. Keep your weight off as much as possible, don’t do anything that’s going to aggravate it. NSAIDs for pain relief. Take care, sugar.

wundayatta's avatar

One way to know for sure is to take an x-ray.

But it really doesn’t matter. Whether it’s broken or not, the treatment is the same: tape it to the next toe over, and protect it as much as you can, and wait for a month or so.

CWOTUS's avatar

As a teenager I once played an intense game of volleyball on an asphalt court… barefoot. I slammed my foot into the court (it hurts even now to recall it, more than 40 years later) and I hobbled my way to the camp nurse. She cleaned my foot and examined it, and told me “it might very well be broken, but there’s not much to do for it except try to stay off it if you can… and don’t play volleyball barefoot any more”.

A few weeks later it was as good as new.

rojo's avatar

Don’t waste your cash on an x-ray. As @wundayatta said, the treatment is the same so just do the taping and take asprin or something similar to dull the pain to a managible level. Also, if possible, wear tevas or some other open-toed shoe. Your foot will thank you.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

It may not be broken, how much could the impact have been? Take care and a speedy recovery!

majorrich's avatar

Furniture and I don’t get along well either. Usually it’s my pinky toe that ends up pointing a direction nature doesn’t usually intend. Hurts pretty good too. I’ll usually apply light traction and point it in the correct direction until I feel it kinda line up, then tape it to a neighbor toe. That’s pretty much all the doctor would do after an x-ray.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Just tape it up and manage the pain. Icing it will help with the pain and swelling.

If the skin breaks, you will want to get it cleaned and treated by your doctor. The feet are prime real estate for bacteria growth. Normally not a problem but it can promote infection if you break the skin.

jca's avatar

I broke a toe once and they told me they couldn’t put it in a cast but I should stay off it and use crutches. I used the crutches to get me to my car, put them in the trunk and never took them out again, because you’ll find it’s very very hard to walk with crutches. I tried to stay off it and/or elevate the front of my foot when I walked for about 6 weeks. My toe is fine now, I don’t even remember which toe it was, only the foot it was on.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Something just clicked in my mind. Make sure the tenderness doesn’t extend past the toe and into your foot. Toes are no big deal. But if it’s into the foot that can be really bad. Check that out carefully.

bookish1's avatar

Wowza, I just got home from work. Thank you to everyone who took the time to help me out here!

Good thing the flutherverse is tending toward the idea that x-rays won’t help, because I couldn’t afford one anyway :-p

I’ve got a huge bruise on my toe, but the pain doesn’t extend into my foot luckily. I’ll tape it, stay off it as much as possible, keep it clean, and hope for the best til I get home!

Thanks again, jellies.

NostalgicChills's avatar

It’s probably broken. I’ve done that once by kicking a concrete wall. (accidentally, of course) Like other jellies suggested, just tape/splint it and wear open toed shoes if possible.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

downtide's avatar

I don’t think it really matters if it’s broken or not; even if you went to the doctor all theywould dois splint it and give you a prescription for painkillers. Time will tell. If it feels better in a week it’s not broken. If it’s still sore after a month, it is. I think @YARNLADY‘s advice is the best; treat it as though it is until it feels better.

Many years ago I took to wearing shoes indoors at all times; because of my poor eyesight I was forever bumping into furniture, stubbing and breaking my toes. I’ve never broken one whilst wearing shoes.

@bookish1 hope it feels better soon.

linguaphile's avatar

I broke my toe in a silly kicking battle with a group of friends when I was 12. Missed my friend and my big toe made contact with a very heavy coffee-table. What everyone says—align it, tape it, ice it, keep it elevated and try not to bend it. I hobbled on it for about 6 weeks.

Nullo's avatar

Worst-case scenario: your toe won’t be as mobile as it once was.

CrammaDoodle's avatar

I have broken my foot 3 times now… was the 4th toe bone everytime.

The first time I didn’t think I broke it either… because all I did was trip off a step and fall on it.
I waited 2 days before I went to the emergency room, and turns out it was broken.
But EVERY time I’ve broken it, I know now.
For me I can barely lift my leg when my foot breaks. It doesn’t always hurt but it’s more of a shooting pain when you pull it certain ways.
I sure hope you didn’t break it, it’s not fun!
Every break I had was on the right foot too, so I couldn’t drive for almost a year with all the breaks combined. O_O

Hope it’s just a bad bang, but I suppose it never hurts to get it checked out.
Trust me you don’t wanna make it worse, because you can potentially worsen the break if you continue to walk on it and put a lot of pressure on it.

bookish1's avatar

Hm, the bruise and swelling have gone down alot today after an evening of rest, so I’m tending to think it was just a terrible ding and not a break! Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply. I was rather worried yesterday!

CrammaDoodle's avatar

That’s good!
I’d say if in the next few days you continue on and even if you’re laying in bed and you turn a certain way and it hurts though to be cautious.

bookish1's avatar

This happened so close to the end of my stay, that I was caught up in a whirlwind and forgot to respond. Thank you for all of the suggestions and stories here. I was very lucky in that it was just a bad bruise, and not a break. It didn’t even hurt after about four days.

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