I was rushing around a few days ago and caught my pinky toe on the doorframe. After yelling, I collapsed into a chair to regain my breath and evaluate the damage. The toe was cocked out of its normal place and I was sure it was broken. Likely there was soft tissue damage as well. I taped my toe to its neighbor. I kept ice on my toe for the better part of 4 hours. I also kept it elevated. It is typically recommended to keep ice on an injury for 20 minutes out of every 2-4 hours for 48 hours. Because the ice helped the pain so much, I kept it on much more than that. I did keep a towel between the ice pack and my toe so it wouldn't get too cold.
In spite of the ice and elevation, I did develop a good bit of swelling and bruising in my foot. The bruising may have been worse due to taking some aspirin for pain, but I did choose aspirin because Tylenol doesn't help with inflammation and I can't take ibuprofen. I also took some turmeric to reduce inflammation.
At first I only needed a cane to get around, but by later in the day, with increased swelling, I was needing to use crutches. I think the swelling in the foot makes walking as painful as the break itself. And bumping or moving my toe wrong stirred up pain afresh. I continued to use ice intermittently and elevation as much as possible.
By the evening of the second day I had significant bruising. I started to use a tincture I had made on my toe and the surrounding bruising. It was an alcohol tincture of arnica and comfrey. This greatly reduced the bruise overnight. I continue to apply the tincture to my toe and surrounding area several times a day.
Cabbage is used as a wrap for swelling, especially for mastitis. I decided to try it for my toe. Typically, cabbage is used fresh from the refrigerator and bruised with a rolling pin before applying to the area in need. I did this once, but then decided it would conform more to my foot and be more comfortable warm. I took a leaf of cabbage and broke it into a few pieces and placed it in a mug. I poured boiling water over it and left it alone for 15 minutes or longer. Then I strained out the hot water and dried the leaves. When the leaves were a comfortable temperature, I applied them to my foot and covered that with plastic, then used cohesive tape to secure everything. I did this two nights in a row and each morning noticed a significant reduction in swelling. Today is day 5 and I can walk without crutches. I am still keeping my foot up a lot and still applying the tincture. I have the toe taped to its neighbor. Actually I have two bandaids holding the toes together as that turned out to be the most comfortable option.
I have also been using comfrey internally. Comfrey promotes cell regeneration and healing to the bones and joints. Its nickname is “knitbone.” My favorite way to eat comfrey is in a saute. I wash and cut up the leaves and saute them in some coconut oil. I usually use 2-5 leaves of comfrey. When the comfrey is almost finished sautéing, I toss a tablespoon of pine nuts and a small handful of raisins to the sautee. I sprinkle this with some sea salt. I think it is delicious.
A broken toe can take 4-6 weeks to heal. I don't know how long it will be before a shoe is comfortable to wear again. I ordered some flip flop socks because wearing flip flops is easy on the toe but leaves my feet awfully cold here in November.
In hindsight I wish I had used the comfrey/arnica tincture earlier, but I didn't think about it at first.
I have also used Epsom salt soaks this week, but I am not sure but that the warm soaks are creating more swelling than they are relieving. Perhaps I started them too early (first night) and perhaps it would be better to soak in cool water.
I hope you don't need any of these remedies ever, but if you do, I hope they help you!
~Mama to Many~