When it comes to a stubbed toe, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that your toe is nowhere near your heart. In other words, your aching digit is not going to kill you.
The bad news is that, no matter how minor the injury may be, there are few things that hurt worse than a stubbed toe. After the initial stubbing, and shortly after the mandatory cursing has ceased, there are a few basic procedures that should be undertaken, simply for the sake of health and safety.
First, sit down and take a look at the stubbed toe. Check to see if the nail is split, if the skin is broken, or if the toe is scraped, scratched, or bleeding. If any of these conditions are present, clean the toe with soap and water. Dry it, and then apply an anti-bacterial cream or ointment.
If none of these conditions is present, your toe should be fine in short order. To prevent swelling, you can apply an ice pack. Also, for pain relief and to curtail inflammation, it would not be a bad idea to take an appropriate dosage of ibuprofen.
However, if the stubbed toe seems to have adopted an angle, or appears to be bent, there is a good chance it may be broken. There are actually several bones that make up each toe, and it is both easy and possible to fracture any or all of them.
The early symptoms of a broken toe will be swelling, stiffness, pain, and a purplish bruising. If walking is painful, then the odds increase that you have suffered a break. This will be particularly true if the big toe has been injured, as it is something of a balance point for the foot. If the condition does not go away with a day or two, visit your doctor for an x-ray.
A final possibility, in the event of a stubbed toe, is called a subungal hematoma. In layman’s terms, this means that blood has collected under your toenail and it is turning purple. If the injury is large, once again a visit to the doctor is in order. He will make a small hole in the toenail and drain the collected blood.
In most cases, there is no need to become anxious or excessively worried over a stubbed toe. It may hurt, and it may swell a bit, but all in all it is one of the most minor of injuries.