What to do when toe dislocation

The toes are endowed with a high concentration of nerve endings, and therefore, with any injury, the brain immediately receives an appropriate impulse. Dislocation of the toe is a common injury not only among athletes. Each of us is at risk of getting a similar injury in everyday life – just careless movement is enough.

Dislocation is accompanied by damage to the tendons, ligaments, muscles, skin and soft tissues. Combined injury in the form of a bruise and dislocation is considered the most common. Dislocation of the big toe occurs with almost the same frequency as the dislocation of the little finger.


Among the most common domestic causes – a blow to a step, corner, stone, furniture. The victim loses motor function instantly, despite the fact that the damage in size is insignificant.

If at least one of them is damaged, movement without lameness is not possible. What to do with a dislocation of the toe and how serious can this injury be?

Types of Dislocations

Dislocation of the phalanx of the thumb is the most common type of injury. It is the distal phalanx that is bruised most often. Dislocation of the ring toe is the second most frequent lesion. Since the central location of the middle finger provides it with maximum security, it is damaged in extremely rare cases.

Dislocation of the phalanx can occur to the rear or to the side. Dislocation to the plantar side is very rare, since the plantar region is equipped with a powerful ligamentous-bag device.


Symptoms of a dislocation of the toe are represented by the following pathological changes:

  • A damaged finger visually appears shorter, its shape changes;
  • There is swelling of the bruised area;
  • The most unpleasant sign of dislocation of a toe is a sharp, piercing pain;
  • Palpation allows you to feel the protruding edge of the joint.

The clinical picture can be represented by a dislocation of not only the phalanx, but also the tarsal and metatarsal bones. Tarsal bones are extremely rarely damaged and only in the case of a sudden turn of the foot. In this case, the pain sensation is localized in the foot area and discomfort intensifies with movements.

Such dislocations can be complete and incomplete. In the first case, all metatarsal bones are mixed. There is a visual expansion and shortening of the foot in the anterior section, its shape is distorted.

First a >

It is not always possible to immediately get the help of a qualified doctor, so you should know how to provide primary care before the victim is taken to hospital.

  1. Do not change the position of the finger, since only a doctor can adjust the toe without negative consequences.
  2. Wrap the injured finger with a small layer of cotton wool, apply a bandage that is not too tight. It is better to bandage the affected finger along with a healthy one for a more reliable fixation.
  3. To stop the pain, you can take a mild pain medication.
  4. Be sure to apply a cold compress. Ice or frozen foods can be applied by pre-wrapping them with a cloth to prevent frostbite. In diabetes mellitus, it is forb >

Diagnosis of finger dislocation is based on anamnesis data, as well as the following factors:

  • The presence of springy immobility;
  • Shortening;
  • Feature limitations;
  • Finger position;
  • Definition of pronounced deformation;
  • Radiography images.

It is very important to have time to straighten the damaged finger before the active spread of soft tissue swelling begins. After the progression of edema, this stage will be associated with certain difficulties, especially if it is a dislocation in the proximal interphalangeal joint or damage to the phalanx towards the sole.


In most cases, treatment of dislocation of the toe is carried out on an outpatient basis or in a trauma center. With a closed dislocation, the treatment methods are as follows:

  • Processing a finger with tincture of iodine and local anesthesia by introducing a 1% solution of novocaine in an amount of 10 ml into the distal phalanx and into the damaged area. Next, the doctor restores the finger with smooth movements.
  • In especially difficult cases, it is advisable to draw a special spoke through the distal phalanx, which will be fixed in a small arc. In some cases, a hoe is used instead of a spoke. Both variations of the procedure are not accompanied by negative consequences, they are simple and safe. Sometimes knitting needles are carried out transarticularly.
  • At the next stage, the doctor pulls on the injured finger, and the assistant at the same time carries out an anti-traction for the ankle joint. At the moment of reduction, the thrust does not weaken.
  • Next, check the functionality of the finger on the ability to perform flexion and extensor movements. At this stage, caution and accuracy are important, otherwise there will be a relapse of dislocation.
  • To fix the finger in the correct position, a bandage from an adhesive plaster is used, after which a control picture is taken. With transarticular conduction of the needles, the bandage from the patch is applied in several layers.
  • The dressing becomes weak on the second or third day, so it is allowed to reinforce it with a patch.

Within a couple of days after setting, it is extremely important to give the foot peace and to avoid any physical activity. To reduce the flow of blood to the fingers and reduce the vastness of the edema, it is recommended to set the foot on a hill (above the level of the body in a prone position).

A plaster cast in the form of a boot is applied if the phalanges are multiple dislocations and are accompanied by fractures. The number of damaged fingers will affect the duration of immobilization, and most often this period is 1-3 weeks. By the end of the month from the moment of setting the work capacity is fully restored.

Nails with such injuries require a separate treatment, because with a dislocation combined with a bruise, the nail may partially fall off or crack. First of all, it is necessary to use a patch or bandage to securely fix the nail and wait 10 days. If regeneration does not occur during this time, it is better to cut off the nail completely, in any case it will grow back.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Anatoly Kudravets

Anatoly Kudravets, Orthopedic Traumatologist. He works with severe cases, practices operative methods of treating connective tissues