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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What cause painfully swollen big toe?

Hi! Several months ago I was playing soccer indoors with my friends. And I accidently kicked the gym floor several times (I was wearing shoes). After a couple of weeks playing soccer, I noticed the big toe on my right foot is hurting and (back in April) slightly swelling. A couple of months later, my big toe is really swollen by the cuticle, red where its swollen, and my toe nail is kinda dark. At first I thought it was fungus but I ve used a foot fungus spray for about a month and a half now and there s still no change. I haven t been playing soccer for a couple of months (except for taking a couple of shots on goal at my house, but I didn t do that much) and its still swollen and hurts sometimes. Is it broken? Is it Turf Toe ? Do I need to go to a Dr.? Asking because I m really broke and I need to know if I really need to go to a Dr.. Also, if pictures of the injury is needed then I can email it.
Thu, 26 Sep 2019
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General & Family Physician 's  Response

It really seems that you could have a turf toe or injured toe. In your case, the injury has also affected the toenail and because of the trauma, it has become dark.

Turf toe usually needs a longer time to heal (at least three weeks) if all measures have been taken.

In your case, and in the context when you have not done much to care about your toe since the incident, this is taking longer.

The best you can do to help the healing process is to rest (or to not engage in various demanding physical activities), wear less-flexible shoes and applying ice and compression in order to reduce the swelling. Elevation of the foot could also help with this.

Another measure is very effective in reducing swelling in these cases: wrapping the toe with a mixture of onion and black sea salt (cut the onion into small pieces, mix with black salt (on a ratio 2:1 - 2 parts onion and 1 part salt, approximately) and wrap the toe with this mixture making sure that the mixture is touching all swollen parts).

You can use this for 1-3 nights (apply before sleep and leave it on the whole night) and the swelling will go away.

Remember: rest is an essential part of the healing process and therefore try to limit the physical effort for some time.

From what you have told us, it is not likely that the toe has been broken or fractured. However, the recommendation is that you need radiography (X-ray) of the toe in order to rule out a potential fracture.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care

Dr Ervin Toçi, General & Family Physician
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