12 Mishaps of Christmas- Stubbed Toe

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Stubbed Toe- Wildly Dad dancing

Stub your toe dad-dancing?

A stubbed toe is not a serious injury, but causes severe pain. This injury happens when one of the toes of the foot is jammed into a hard object that result to spraining or straining on the tissues of the toe. Toes have plenty of nerve endings that can result to severe pain.

Sometimes, an ordinary stubbed toe can progress to a more serious injury such as ligament strain or toe fracture and have a high risk of developing into osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of stubbed toe

  • Bleeding
  • A “bent” or misaligned appearance of the toe
  • Severe swelling or dislocation
  • A broken and misplaced nail

If there is difficulty removing the shoe and sock, it can be a fracture or sprain in the toe or foot which is a serious condition. In such cases, seek medical help immediately.


  • Disinfect abrasions, scrapes, cuts and breaks in the nail immediately by washing it with soap and warm water. Dry the toe gently using a towel and then rub an anti-bacterial cream into any breaks in the skin and cover with a clean bandage. The bandage should be changed every day as the affected toe is healing.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected toe to lessen the swelling. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and apply on the affected toe for at least 15-20 minutes at a time. If ice is not available, a bag of frozen vegetables can also be used for the condition. Avoid applying the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite that can make the condition worse.
  • Avoid putting plenty of pressure on the toe. You can lessen the severe pain and swelling by shifting some weight to the heel while walking and standing. Once the swelling is minimized on the injured toe, place light cushioning such as a gel insole to lessen the pain in walking.
  • If pain in a stubbed toe still persists after an hour or two, avoid performing any physical activities such as sports for a few days until there is no more pain.
  • Elevate the affected toe above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling of the area. When lying down, prop the legs in stacks of pillows.
  • Wear shoes that have enough space for the toe and avoid tight shoes that can aggravate the condition. Wear open-toed shoes such as sandals and slippers which makes it easier to apply the cold compresses and changing of the bandages.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to lessen the pain and inflammation.

If the individual still experiences pain within an hour or two, pain that recurs when pressure is placed on the toe, swelling and inflammation that causes difficulty in walking and a bruise-like discoloration on the stubbed toe, seek medical help immediately.

*Information sourced from NHS Choices*