HomeToe Pain ResourcesHow to Fix a Dislocated Toe

How to Fix a Dislocated Toe


A dislocated toe is different from a broken or sprained toe. A dislocated toe can be placed back in its place easily without extending the recovery period, but the fact is that many of the symptoms of the broken toe are similar to a sprained or broken toe.

The treatment for dislocated toes does not take much time to heal and gives immediate results. The pain in the toe joint, which is caused due to dislocation, is mostly due to the direct or indirect impact caused to the injured party, but the injury is commonly caused due to a toe sprain.

What is a dislocated Toe?

A dislocated toe is when the bones are out of place and appear misaligned. Dislocation is commonly experienced by athletes where toe ligament tears or injuries often accompany the original injury.

The presence of toe pain must be treated as soon as possible; similarly, the dislocation of the toe must be treated quickly after any injury as the resetting of the toe joint becomes easy.

But in case an injured toe has not received any serious treatment even after the six hours of the injury, then it is advisable to wait for professional help so that resetting can be carried out properly.

Causes of Dislocated Toe

The condition of the dislocated toe can be caused due to both minor and major injuries. The activities like walking on even terrain, pressurizing or overloading one part of the foot, or any kind of direct trauma to the toe can result in a toe injury.

The condition of dislocation in the foot is caused when the bone slips out of place or even the foot slips out of place or rolls out the foot putting unnatural stress on some part of the toe resulting in dislocation.

Toe injuries, mostly dislocations are very common in sports like hockey, soccer, rugby, and football, especially turf toe, in which playing on hard surfaces puts excessive strain on the toe. Toe pain will be there, which will increase on changing the direction or stopping and starting the toe functioning regularly.

The smaller toes are at a greater risk of dislocation than big toes because they are more likely to face more severe injuries.

Related: Broken pinky toe

Symptoms of Dislocated Toe:

  • Intense pain in the dislocated toe, especially while trying to move the injured part to pressurize the area of the toe.
  • Bruising and swelling in the entire affected part, along with the difficulty in walking.
  • It is advisable to remove the shoes and the socks to prevent unnecessary pain in the toe and also prevent the toe from additional injury.
  • Deformity will be noticed in the toe visibly and sometimes it can be clearly noticed that the toe is out of place.
  • Sometimes even the bones of the toes appear misaligned or out of place.
    Toe paralysis or numbness will be there in case the nerves or blood vessels are pressed or being pinched.
  • In case any abnormal movement is noticed in the toe or inability is felt in the movement of the toe, then it could be an indication of the complications of the dislocated toe.
  • Any kind of harm or injury to the toenail, toes or foot could result in additional risks. Whenever a trauma is caused to the toe, check around carefully around the injured part, if some other injuries could be the cause of the toe injury pain.

How to Reset a Dislocated Toe

Home Treatment Methods for Dislocated Toe

Treatment of a dislocated can be easily carried out at home within six hours after the injury is caused. After this time frame, it is not advisable to attempt the self-adjustment of the dislocated toe as it could enhance the harm which is already done.

This is because the tissues within the toe start losing their elasticity after the injury is caused to them. Crookedness will be noticed in the knuckle or the joint area of the injured toe, then there is a possibility to correct the dislocation yourself.

If you want to adjust the dislocated toe, it is advisable to pull it gently away from the foot. In this way, you will realign the toe and allow it to get back in its original position. This procedure is quite painful and must be carried out quickly in one swift move; this will minimize the damage or reduce toe pain.

Give Proper Rest to the Dislocated Toe: In case the dislocated toe remains straight, then it is advisable to adjust it with the help of tape and a thin piece of cotton or fabric in between the injured toe and the video on the toe.

Make sure that the tape is not very tightly tied to prevent circulation or enhance the pain in the toe after the tape is tightly placed.

Related: Best toe protectors

Apply R-I-C-E Treatment

1. Rest: It is advisable to give your dislocated toe proper rest. Avoid walking, any kind of movement, especially the movement along with heavyweight.

Try to spend the least time on your foot, especially when you have adjusted your foot yourself. So it is better to avoid unnecessary stress on your foot to prevent any further injuries to your already injured foot.

2. Ice: The application of ice packs on the injured part before and after aligning the dislocated foot will help reduce the swelling and bruising from the affected region. Make sure that the application of the ice must not be made directly on the skin rather, place the cubes of ice in a plastic bag or a piece of cloth and then apply it to the affected part.

NatraCure Cold Therapy Socks - Reusable Gel Ice Frozen Slippers for Feet, Heels, Swelling, Edema, Arch, Chemotherapy, Arthritis, Neuropathy, Plantar Fasciitis, Post Partum Foot - Size: Small/Medium
  • Uses: Within seconds, chills entire foot to relieve: sore feet, hot feet, tired feet, aching feet, & painful chronic conditions like plantar fasciitis and arthritis. Frequently used during pregnancy.
  • Immediate Relief: from inflammation & swelling from sprains or strains of the ball-of-foot, neuropathy, tendonitis, or any foot injury. Ideal for men or women on their feet all day.
  • Sizing: Small/Medium fits Women's shoe sizes 7 to 12 US & Men's shoe sizes 5 to 10 US. One pair. Use as socks for plantar fasciitis women, soothe socks for neuropathy pain, or as a reusable ice bag.
  • How It Works: Neutralizes pain & wear and tear with a chilled gel pack beneath the length of the foot, & another half-size pack for top of foot or behind heel.
  • Ideal comfort items for chemo patients, chemotherapy treatments, chemo care package for men, cooling socks, cool socks for women, cryotherapy, edema relief.

This application will help reduce the inflammation and swelling on the affected part but make sure that you do not numb the area or enhance the complications of the injured part. The application of ice must be carried out to contract the blood vessels and restrict the circulation of blood gently to the affected part.

This will help in reducing pain and later encourage nutrients to the affected part as the vessels will dilate after the removal of the ice. The application of the ice must be carried out for twenty minutes at an interval of 2-3 hours in the initial days of the incident.

3. Compression: A medical band can be wrapped, and pressure can be applied to the injured toe joint. This will help in reducing the swelling and limiting the movement. This will also prevent the involuntary movement of the toes and allow compression which will enhance the recovery of the dislocated toe. Make sure that the compression of the toe will prevent swelling but in case of a delay in the healing process, it will limit the supply of blood as well.

4. Elevation: The placement of the injured toes at a higher position will help in reducing the swelling and encourage the supply of blood to the elevated part. If the injured part’s elevation limits the movement of the injured area, then it is advisable to reduce the elevation and focus on early healing.

Restorology Leg Elevation Pillow for Sleeping - Supportive Bed Wedge Pillow for Circulation, Swelling, Foot & Knee Discomfort
  • SUPPORTIVE - Rest the smart way! Crafted for all shapes and sizes, our leg pillow is extra-wide to easily support both legs.
  • CIRCULATION - Our leg support pillow elevates your limbs to encourage proper circulation and can help to promote the relief of knee, leg, foot, and pregnancy discomfort.
  • STAYS FIRM- The dense luxury foam in our leg rest prevents it from flattening, for bounce-back buoyancy!
  • REMOVABLE COVER - Our ultra-soft microfiber leg wedge pillow cover comes off with ease for convenient cleaning and care, so you can get back to comfort quickly.
  • MACHINE WASHABLE - Elevate your cleaning experience! Just toss the cover of our leg pillows for elevation into the washer. No stress and no mess for top-tier rest!

5. Walking boots:  For fast recovery, a walking aid is recommended. You can use crutches or even better medical walking boots. These boots help the toes to remain in a fixed position when moving around.

United Ortho Short Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot, Fits Left or Right, Large, Black
  • BEFORE PURCHASING please view our sizing chart (second image). Size Large fits men’s 9.5-12 and women’s 11-12+ shoe size. Size Large weighs 2.5 pounds and can be worn on the left or right foot
  • USER GUIDE included in each boot for proper application. Please follow the steps provided for ideal fit and comfort
  • PROMOTES NATURAL WALKING with rocker sole and shock-absorbing insole promote more natural walking during use
  • STURDY plastic molded uprights with steel reinforcement provides increased durability
  • CAM WALKER BOOT can be used for acute ankle sprains, soft tissue injuries, stable lower leg, foot and ankle fractures and post-operative use

Replacing a Dislocated Toe

Exercises for a Dislocated Toe

It is advisable to seek immediate medical aid in case you are not able to straighten the dislocated toe. Consult the podiatrist who will analyze the position of the injured toe joint and will prescribe medication, special foot protection.

In case the dislocation is severe then he will ask you to undertake X-rays, MRI scans, etc. to determine the trauma.

Here are a few exercises that can be carried out to bring back the dislocated toe to its original position. They are:

1. Vertical Toe Raise: Place the hands in between two solid positions at the level of your waist so as to support and carefully lower the weight towards the injured foot. Now press the feet into the ground so that the injured is raised away from the point till the position of the pain.

Stay in this position for some time giving adequate support to the body with the help of your hands, and then slowly return to the original position. You can carry out this exercise 10-12 times in one repetition. Try to do it 2-3 times a day for better results.

2. Horizontal Toe Press: In this exercise injured foot is pressed against the wall with the tip of the toes just touching the wall. To carry out this exercise injured leg is placed behind the body, and hands are placed on the wall for support.

Now very carefully try to level the toes on the wall and then apply pressure downwards, restricting the toe till the point of the pain. Remain in the position for a few seconds and then slowly return to your original position. This exercise can be repeated 12 times and can be carried out 2-3 times a day.

3. Vertical Toe Press: In this exercise, the placement of the hands must be done on two solid objects at the level of the waist. Now curl the toe backward and press it to the ground till the point of pain is felt. Hold the position for a few seconds, and then leave to return to your original position. This exercise can be repeated 12 times in one sitting and 2-3 times a day.

Next: Hammer Toes

Prevention of Dislocated Toe:

It is essential to prevent your injured toe from any further injury. For this purpose, you must consult your podiatrist from time to time, and in case of severe discomfort even after realignment, contact him immediately.

While you are about to resume your normal activities, sports, etc., make sure that you are cautious enough while carrying them out. Avoid putting excessive stress suddenly, slowly, and gradually bring back your dislocated toe to its routine.

Dr Christine Nolan is the CEO and founder of Footdiagnosis.com. She also has extensive clinical experience and is therefore uniquely qualified to detect and manage diseases of the lower extremities including those related to peripheral arterial disease and diabetes.