Crush Injury of the Foot, No Fracture

A crush injury to your foot causes local pain, swelling, and sometimes bruising. There are no broken bones. This injury takes from a few days to a few weeks to heal. If the toenail has been severely injured, it may fall off in 1 to 2 weeks. A new one will usually start to grow back within a month.

Home care

The following guidelines will help you care for your wound at home:

  • You may be given a splint, shoe, or boot to prevent movement at the injury. Unless you were told otherwise, use crutches or a walker and don’t bear weight on the injured foot until your doctor says it's OK. You can rent crutches and walkers at many pharmacies and surgical/orthopedic supply stores. Don’t put weight on a plaster or fiberglass splint, or it will break.

  • Keep your leg elevated to reduce pain and swelling. When sleeping, place a pillow under the injured leg. When sitting, support the injured leg so it is level with your waist. This is very important during the first 2 days (48 hours).

  • Put an ice pack on the injured area. Do this for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day for pain relief. You can make an ice pack by wrapping a plastic bag of ice cubes in a thin towel. As the ice melts, be careful that the splint, boot, or shoe doesn’t get wet. Continue using the ice pack 3 to 4 times a day until the pain and swelling go away.

  • You may use over-the-counter pain medicine such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your healthcare provider before using these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding.

  • Keep the splint ,boot, or shoe dry. When bathing, protect it with a large plastic bag, rubber-banded at the top end. If a fiberglass splint or boot gets wet, you can dry it with a hair dryer. Unless told otherwise, you can take off the boot or shoe to bathe.

  • If your injury includes exposed cuts or scrapes, clean these daily with soap and water. Apply antibiotic ointment. Watch for the signs of infection listed below.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Return sooner if you don’t start to get better within the next 3 days. If you were given a splint, it may be changed to a cast or boot at your follow-up visit.

If X-rays were taken, you will be told of any new findings that may affect your care.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • The plaster splint becomes wet or soft

  • The fiberglass splint remains wet for more than 24 hours

  • Increased tightness or pain under the splint

  • Toes become swollen, cold, blue, numb, or tingly

  • Redness, warmth, swelling, drainage from the wound, or foul odor from a cast or splint

  • You can’t move your toes

  • The skin around the splint  becomes red

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

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