Can I train on a broken big toe?

Sorry to invade your headspace with a minor injury but I need to reassurance that I can train tomorrow...

I play football twice a week and brak my big toe about 4 times a year.

I do the RICE stuff to calm it down but normally rest it for a fortnigt if it gets beyond a joke.

Tonight I broke my toe again - usual stuff - swellng, inable to move or bend it, slightly off colour.

But I have training with my local tomorrow tomorrow night. Should I rest or should I be grit my teeth knowing that it's onky a toe - it's not like I;ve torn my achilles is it?

Perhaps I'm insane but surely wearing running shoes to run on the rubber track at Sportcity (MCR) is about as harmful as a feather?



  • I guess it depends on which toe, your pain threshold etc etc.

    But, I broke my 4th toe 4 years ago. I was on paracetamol and ibuprofen for weeks.

    Advice I was given at the minor injuries unit at local community hospital was:

    1. keep weight off it as much as possible to allow healing (yeah right with 2 young kids!)

    2. once you can walk without pain and without limping you can try a very gentle jog.

    Have you strapped/taped it to the next toe - that will help keep it immobile and allow healing, which I was advised could take 6-8 weeks.

    Personally, I would not run or play football or anything with a broken toe. But maybe I'm a wuss and would rather err on the side of caution (and less pain).

    Perhaps a trip to the GP or someone is in order just to check it out??

  • Oh, and remember, your big toe is your main balance after your hearing system. You may find you are more unsteady than usual.
  • Steve, I had problems with my big toe last year, and tried to keep running, but my training became more and more painful over the next two months, and, subsequently I was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the sesamoid and had a 4 month layoff. This still didn't fix the problem - my local hospital said there was no need for cast or crutches and that I was fine to walk on it, but just not to run on it. NHS!!!

    I started back running New Years Day, but still had pain. Luckily my specialist appt had finally come through, and they were fantastic. They reckoned I had been misdiagnosed and that I actually had sesamoiditis, for which, yesterday, I had a cortisone injection, and am on crutches today to keep the weight off, but should be back running by Saturday at the latest.

    I often found playing football, if I got a kick around the ball of my foot that it would swell up as you've described, so is it possible that you've got something similar or is it defintely a break?

    Either way, from painful experience, I would say get it fixed first. If you can afford to do it privately it'll be much quicker. My local hospital don't believe they can do anything for broken bones in the foot and are very dismissive, so if you can't afford private I hope your local hospital are more sensible.

    Good luck!
  • How come you break your toe 4 times a year? Do you miss a lot when you try to kick the ball? Do you forget to put your boots on?
    I played football for many many years and can't remember breaking a toe more than once.
    Is it the same toe you break all the time?
    If the answer to the last question is yes then perhaps you haven't let it heal properly in the past and that's why it keeps breaking.
    Stopping your favorite sport long enough to let things get better properly is a pain for all of us but sometimes it's worth it in the long run.
  • are you sure it's a break and not a dislocation???

    I wouldn't think 2 weeks rest would cure a broken toe but it would help a dislocation
  • It takes weeks for broken toes to heal properly, I had 2 months off and had to use a stick to walk.
    Sounds like you've stubbed it badly and have a lot of bruising, may be dislocated as fb suggests. Have you had it x-rayed?
  • Thanks for te much required dose of commn sense.

    Creamcake - I will see my GP. I saw im about it last year he told me to "take it easy". I will tell him that's not good enough next time.

    TippTopp - I will ask him about sesamoiditis - this happens to the same toe too often without much provocation.

    MD4 - yes I wear boots and no I don't miss much. Maybe I don't give it long enough to heal but it's been good for 6 months until last night.

    Budda - I will ask GP if it's a dislocation

    Huge - I hpe it's not broken, I've just joined a running club and was training for my first race in May.

    Thanks all.

  • Just to say, M62 Steve, I did follow the advice I was given and I have healed with no real problems. I am very careful about increasing mileage and speedwork (even now!). The problem with GPs is that they have general knowledge and do not specialise in one area, especially sports related matters! If you could find one, a sports doctor or sports injuries clinic would be a better bet! 6-8 weeks off now is better than starting back too soon and making the problem worse or creating even more problems for yourself! Your running club will still be there when you have healed. If you ask around the members, I am sure there are some that have broken toes - that was my experience!

    Huge - I was told at the local minor injuries unit that they don't xray for broken bones in the foot!!
  • Thanks Creamcake.

    This morning my toe was red, while and blue.

    I went to the local NHS walk in centre tonight who sent me to casualty for an x-ray.

    The X ray revealed that there was a lose fragement of bone and a small fracture. His advice was to avoid any impact exercise (including football and, heart achingly, running) for 4-6 weeks and to take it easy after that. I have to say I was gutted. But quitting football? I might have to quit football as no matter what happens, it will bring this injury back in a matter of time (unless I'm very lucky). What a suckerpunch.

    I forgot to mention sesamoiditis (I forgot to write the word down) but he mentioned another medical term I can;t rememer where the bone in te toe widens.

    Anyway, I'm really fecked off as I only just got into running, only just joined a club and was training for my first 10k in May. While I'm fecking gutted at least it's not something worse, I'm sure there are plenty on here who are out of action for longer and for more serious reasons.

    Still, there's always the bike and the gym.

    I might see a sports specialist for a longer term view of how to look after my toe.

    Cheers all.
  • Sorry to hear your news M62 Steve - at least you now know what is wrong.

    In the grand scheme of things, 4-6 weeks isn't a great deal of time - I was back to gentle jogging within 8 weeks albeit very slowly. Just make sure you can walk without limping before you attempt a jog.

    I can understand you being disappointed with this as your first 10K was due to be in May - is this the Great Manchester Run? There will be other 10Ks - I know that is no consolation at the moment but at least you know you can recover from this setback.

    As well as the bike and gym, you could also swim or go aqua jogging...

    Let us know how you get on with the sports specialist (when you find one). It will heal - mine has and I've had no problems since...

    Take care and I wish you a speedy recovery.
  • Cheers Creamcake.

    Yes it is the Great Manchester Run and at £8 a pop, I'm gonna do it even if I need a bloody weelchair (I'll be fully recovered by then anyway)!.

    I will also swim - sh1t floats as they say!

    Thanks again!
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