Long story short, yes, you certainly can dislocate a toe. Unfortunately, in many cases, it can be extremely difficult for untrained individuals to recognize if a toe is dislocated or broken. Both can be painful and caused by similar physical activities. 

First, let’s dive into the most common causes of dislocated toes, then we can get into how you can tell whether your toe is dislocated or broken — and what you can do about it.

How Can You Dislocate a Toe?

Unfortunately, dislocating your toes is a lot easier than you might think. It can happen from any external force that causes the bones in your toe to misalign. This is typically done during contact sports such as soccer or football. 

In another article that we have on the topic, we dive deeper into what causes a dislocated toe, especially for people who are prone to dislocations. If you’ve dislocated your toe more than once, you might want to give it a read.

The list of things that cause a toe dislocation is not short. Any source of trauma on the bones can inflict a dislocation. This includes stubbing the toe, dropping something on it, twisting it, or any other form of excessive physical stress.

Telling The Difference Between a Dislocated or Broken Toe

So, is your toe broken, or is it just dislocated? The difference can be hard to tell if you’re not a Fresno podiatrist

The symptoms of a dislocated toe are as follows:

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Severe pain and discoloration
  • Difficulty flexing and moving the affected toes
  • A visibly crooked appearance
  • A tingling or numb sensation

Unfortunately, a broken toe can have all of these exact symptoms. What could make things even more confusing is that, often times, when a toe breaks, it can also become dislocated. One thing to note, though, is at the time of a break, you may also hear or feel your bone cracking. A break will also typically be much more painful. 

The only way to know for sure if your toe is broken is to come into your local podiatry office and get an X-ray by a professional podiatrist.

What to Do if You Dislocate Your Toe

If you suspect that you have dislocated your toe, don’t pop it back in place. You should try and seek professional help. However, while you are seeking proper medical attention, follow the RICE method:

  • R – Rest
  • I – Ice
  • C – Compression
  • E – Elevation

You should avoid putting any weight on your foot and avoid walking as much as possible. Ice, elevation, and compression can assist in reducing inflammation and further damage. Once you make it to your foot doctor, you will be able to tell for sure with an X-ray or physical examination if your toe is broken or dislocated and then receive the proper care.

Let The Professionals Care For Your Dislocated Toe

Popping your toe back into place — especially if you don’t know if it is actually broken — can be dangerous and damaging. Your best option is coming into our office in Fresno, Visalia, or Porterville for professional help if you believe that you have a dislocated pinky toe, or any other toe, for that matter.