Running with a Broken Toe

Even though toe fracture is a common foot injury, it takes quite a bit of force to actually break the bone.

Most common way people break their toes is by stubbing them really hard on their furniture. You can also break it if you drop a heavy load onto it.

In most cases this injury does not require any special care but you can and should visit your doctor, just to make sure. Should you run with a broken toe, though? That is the question we are going to answer today.

But first:

How Do You Even Know If Your Toe Is Broken

Of course, stubbing your toe on furniture will hurt like hell, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the bone is broken.

That being said, it is certainly possible to recognize some of the more obvious signs of a broken toe.

Let`s look at those in more detail:


If you just stub your toe but do not break it, the pain will be intense but you will notice a decrease in its intensity as the time goes by. And if the pain becomes worse, especially when walking or moving it, it may indicate a fracture.

Also, if you feel slight tingling alongside with pain, you should get your toe checked by a professional.

Changes in size and coloration

In addition to being painful, a broken toe will usually become swollen and red. Bruises might also appear along with a collection of blood under the toenail.

Sometimes swelling can be subtle and harder to recognize, but placing the injured toe next to the healthy one of the other foot might help you see that there is something wrong.

In more severe cases the toe might stick out the joint at an angle – these are severe fractures and visiting a doctor is a must! Another clear sign of a severe fracture is a bone breaking through the skin.

Should You Or Should You Not Visit A Doctor?

Generally, I advise people to go see their doctor if they have any sort of health problems; but people are stubborn. Sometimes they don’t even want to admit to themselves something is wrong, not to mention getting an appointment with their doctor.


Fortunately for them (and you, if you are like that), most toe fractures are not that severe and will not require any special medical attention.

There are cases though, where professional help is a must! Those are:

  • Pain that does not go away after couple days, or a pain that keeps getting more and more intense at the time goes by,
  • tingling and numbness radiating from the injury,
  • swelling and discoloration that does not go away on its own,
  • severe toe fracture (we mentioned it above).

What Can You Do About It – Home Treatment

A broken toe will usually heal in 6-8 weeks. It, of course, depends on how well you take care of it during that time.

The first thing you can and should do is elevate your foot. You can simply lie down and place a pillow under it. Keeping it elevated will help you deal with swelling and pain.

Another great, complementary treatment is applying ice. Ideally, you should use ice blocks but you can grab a bag of frozen veggies from the fridge and use it just as effectively.

You must, however, make sure you don’t apply the ice directly onto your skin, wrap it in a piece of cloth first then apply. Hold it on no more than 20 minutes, couple times a day.

The most important thing you can do for your broken toe is not to aggravate it much – stay off your foot as much as possible and let the body take care of the fracture for you.

So, Should You Run With A Broken Toe?

Of course, you can run with a broken toe…if you are a masochist and/or have a high tolerance for pain. But should you run? – Most definitely not!
You will be better off taking a break from running , or any other sport that involves running, for 6-8 weeks until the fracture is fully healed.

If the injury is only mild, you might even be back on track after just 2 or 3 weeks… BUT, you must let your doctor decide after looking at your X-ray and the progress you`ve made during those 2 to 3 weeks.

This does not mean you shouldn’t exercise! But you need to modify your exercise routine with regards to your toe injury and avoid movement which causes pain.

Revision 29.10.2020 – dead link removed



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