Binding an injured toe together with the one next to it is a useful and inexpensive method of treating sprains, dislocations, and fractures of the toes and even the fingers. It is often performed by professionals such as sports physicians, physiotherapists, podiatrists and chiropractors, but it is easy to learn and implement at home. If you apply it correctly, it provides support, protection, and it helps realign the joints involved. However, there are also complications that can occur using this method, such as a problem with the blood supply, infections or loss of mobility in the joint.
Part 1 of 2: bandaging the injured toe to your neighbor
Step 1. Identify the toe where you injured yourself
Toes are very susceptible to injury and can break after minor trauma, such as bumping them against furniture or kicking sports equipment. In most cases, it is obvious that the toe is injured, but sometimes you need to take a closer look to better understand the injury. You may see signs of mild to moderate injuries like redness, inflammation, localized pain, bruising, reduced mobility, or the limb may look crooked if it has dislocated or fractured. The big toe and the little toe are injured more often than any other.
- This bandaging technique is used in most toe injuries, but more severe fractures require a cast or surgery.
- Fine fractures, broken bones, bruises and sprains are generally considered not to be serious problems, more severely crushed toes (crushed and bloody) or open compound fractures (with bleeding and a stubble). bone sticking out) require immediate surgery, especially if the problem is in the big toe.
Step 2. Decide which toes to bandage
Once you have located the wound, you need to decide where to place the bandage. In general, try bandaging neighboring toes that are similar in length and width. If the second is injured, it may be easier to bandage the third than the big toe because they are both the same size. In addition, the latter is necessary for walking, which is why it is better to avoid bandaging the second toe. You should also make sure that the toe you choose is not injured, as you will make it worse if you bandage two that are injured. In this kind of situation, a cast or a compression boot are better solutions.
- If the fourth is injured, you can bandage it on the third instead of the fifth, as they come in different sizes and lengths.
- Do not use this method if you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease, as reduced blood flow caused by the bandage may increase your risk of necrosis (i.e. tissue death).
Step 3. Bandage the toes without over-tightening
Once you have decided where to put the bandage, take some medical tape and loosely bandage the injured toe against its healthy neighbor, such as trying to wrap the tape in eight to give you better stability. Be careful not to over tighten, as this will cause inflammation and could prevent blood flow to the wound. Consider putting gauze between the toes to prevent skin abrasion or blisters. The risk of bacterial infection significantly increases blisters and abrasions.
- Don't put on too much tape to get your foot inside your shoes. In addition, you will heat the foot and cause more perspiration.
- For the bandage, you can use medical tape, adhesive bandage, electrical tape, Velcro bands or rubber bands.
- To provide better support, which can only do you good, you can use a wooden or metal splint in addition to the adhesive plaster. For the toes, an Eskimo stick will do, just be careful to remove any sharp edges and splinters that could injure you.
Step 4. After taking a bath, change the bandage
If the bandage was put on by a doctor or other healthcare professional, they've probably used a water-resistant adhesive plaster and you can shower or bathe at least once. However, as a general rule, you should be prepared to reinstall the adhesive plaster after each bath so that you can also check for signs of irritation or infection. Abrasions, blisters and calluses increase the risk of skin infection, so you should clean and dry your toes well before putting on the bandage. Also consider cleaning them with alcohol wipes to disinfect them.
- Signs of infection include inflammation, redness, aching pain, and the presence of pus.
- Depending on the severity of the injury, you will probably need to keep the bandage on for up to four weeks for it to heal completely, which is why you will likely develop a talent for this type of bandage.
- If the injury hurts even more after you put the bandage back on, you can remove the adhesive plaster and start over, making sure not to over tighten it.
Part 2 of 2: Understanding the possible complications
Step 1. Watch for signs of necrosis
As noted above, necrosis is a type of tissue death caused by the lack of blood and oxygen supply. An injured toe, especially from a dislocation or fracture, can have torn blood vessels, so you need to be very careful not to stop the blood flow when you bandage it to its neighbor. If you squeeze too hard, the limb will start to throw at you with sharp pain and it will turn dark red, then dark blue. Most tissues can survive two to three hours without oxygen (at most), but it is essential to monitor your foot for the first half hour after putting on the bandage to make sure it is getting enough blood.
- People with diabetes already have less sensation in their toes and feet and tend to have poor circulation, which is why they should avoid this technique.
- If necrosis occurs, amputation should be done to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of the foot or leg.
- If you have a compound open fracture, your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics for two weeks as a precaution to prevent possible bacterial infection.
Step 2. Do not bandage a severely fractured toe
While most fractures respond well to this method, some are simply beyond your ability. When the toes are completely crushed or broken (in the case of a multiple fracture) or if they are so fractured that they are no longer aligned or the bones protrude from the skin (this is called an open fracture), no bandage will help. Instead, you should go to the emergency room to see a doctor and possibly have surgery.
- Here are some of the common symptoms of a fractured toe: severe, sharp pain, inflammation, stiffness, and usually bruising from internal bleeding. It will be difficult for you to walk and almost impossible to run or jump because of the excruciating pain.
- These fractures can also be the result of disorders that weaken the bones, such as bone cancer, bone infection, osteoporosis or chronic diabetes.
Step 3. Protect your toes from further injury
Once the injury is there, you take an even greater risk of injuring yourself. Thus, you should wear comfortable shoes that protect you while you are also wearing the bandage (usually between two and six weeks). Choose comfortable closed-toe shoes that give the toes plenty of room to tuck in the bandage and accompanying inflammation. The best shoes have a hard sole and support the foot, which is why you should avoid flip flops and sandals. Avoid high heels at all costs for several months after the injury, as they cause compression of the foot and reduced blood flow.
- You can use open sandals that support the foot if the inflammation is too much, but remember they don't give you any protection, so you need to be careful wearing them.
- If you work in the construction industry or in certain fields as a firefighter, police officer, or landscaper, consider wearing safety shoes to better protect your toe while it heals.
- In most cases, you should bandage the injured toe to its neighbor, but also remember to lift it up and put on ice to reduce inflammation and pain.
- It is not necessary to stop all activities while your foot is injured, but you should avoid those that put pressure on your foot, such as swimming, biking, or lifting.