Although it’s the littlest of your five toes, your pinky toe can become quite painful if something goes wrong in the area. Since it’s the toe furthest on the outside of your foot, your pinky toe can oftentimes get stubbed or flattened if you’re not careful, but how should you go about treating these injuries? In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some things you should know about pinky toe conditions and their treatment.
What To Know About Pinky Toe Pain
You might think that trauma to your pinky toe may not be all that big of a deal because it’s such a small area, but your pinky toe has a vital role in your foot. Because of its location, it plays a significant role in helping you maintain balance when you’re running, walking or doing activities where weight is shifted across your feet, like golfing. And if problems inhibit your pinky toe from providing stabilization to the entire foot, more issues can develop.
But what are some of the more common injuries that can cause problems for your little toe? Some of those injuries and conditions include:
Broken Toe – If you stub your toe on a chair or the dining room table, it’s possible that you did enough damage to fracture the bone. It may seem like you broke it as soon as your stubbed it, but that’s when pain is most intense. It tends to fade over the course of a couple hours or days, but if pinky toe pain persists for more than 48 hours, there’s a chance you broke it.
Crush Injuries – A similar type of injury involves a crushing force, like if a heavy object drops on the toe. It can lead to a single fracture, multiple fractures or more extensive damage depending on how heavy the object was. It’s important to wear the right protective equipment when working with heavy loads that could cause crush injuries.
Toe Sprains – If the supportive ligament in the toe becomes overstretched from a bending or twisting action, you could end up with a toe sprain. Toe sprains can range from mild to severe, and treatment will depend on the grade of your sprain.
Bunionette – A bunionette is a small type of bunion that forms at the joint of the pinky toe, whereas a standard bunion forms on the base of the big toe. This can cause your little toe to point inward and become painful. Left untreated, arthritis or joint instability can develop.
Treating Little Toe Injuries
Treatment of pinky toe injuries and conditions can vary, and while you should always consider getting an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan at the hands of a specialist who can see you in person, oftentimes pinky toe problems can be corrected with conservative treatment options. For many ligament sprains and even fractures, treatment involves little more than rest, area protection in the form of a walking boot, anti-inflammatory medications and eventual physical therapy. For mild to moderate bunions, switching to a roomier shoe and adding bunion pads to shoes can help prevent continued shifting and ease symptoms.
For serious sprains and crush injuries, surgery may be necessary to ensure everything heals correctly and your pinky returns to a normal state. Your doctor can walk you through your specific care instructions should you need this level of care.
For more information, or for help with your pinky toe pain, reach out to Dr. Silverman’s office today.