Stubbed, Sprained or Broken?

Is there anything worse than going about a wonderful day and then suddenly, BAM, you run right into the side of your couch or bed frame stubbing your toe. The pain is like lightning bolts running up and down your body. You scream and grab your foot and if it weren’t for the fact that you see it’s intact, your bet would be that your whole toe fell off during the incident.

A stubbed toe might seem like a minor injury, however; it can lead to breaks, sprains and even toenail infections if not cared for properly.

Stubbed, Sprained or Broken?

A stubbed toe is the name for any injury that happens when a person suddenly hits or jams their toe. The symptoms of a stubbed, sprained or broken toe are similar at first, regardless of whether the injury is serious or minor. This includes intense pain that radiates up and down the body, swelling, bruising and loss of motion in the toe. It can be difficult to determine if your toe is simply stubbed or actually broken until some time has passed. Here are some symptoms to look out for in order to determine if you’ve endured a more serious injury:

  • swelling around the toe and sometimes into the foot
  • discoloration, such as black or blue bruising, around the toe
  • a change in the shape of the toe, if a bone is out of place
  • trouble moving the toe
  • significant pain when walking or putting weight on the toe
  • pain that gets worse over several hours
  • a visible bone poking into the skin

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms after 48 hours of stubbing your toe, we recommend making an appointment with one of our Doctors right away.


A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect the bones of the toe. Symptoms of a sprain can mimic those of a broken toe however over time, sprains heal and the pain dissipates.

Toenail Injuries

9 times out of 10 when you stub your toe, your toenail takes a beating. Injuries to the toenails can be very painful, especially if the toenail breaks deep in the nail plate. If the injury is serious enough to bleed, it may be painful to walk for several weeks. You can expect a more serious toenail injury to result in the nail falling off as it deadens.

If you notice any of the following after stubbing your toe, we suggest an appointment with one of our Doctors to ensure proper cleaning and care of the wound and to make sure an infection does not develop.

  • a cracked or broken nail
  • bleeding along the edge of, or underneath, the toenail
  • swelling or pain under the toenail
  • pus or fluid under the toenail

We hope no one reading this will ever stub their toe again, however; we are here to care for you if you do! Just remember, ice, ice and breathe.

To set your next appointment with us click below:

Lake Oconee, GA 706-999-9994

West Augusta, GA 706-597-0102

Madison, GA 706-257-0257