Foot or Toe Crush Injury, No Fracture (Child)

Your child has a crush injury of the foot or toe(s). A crush injury results when a large amount of pressure is placed on part of the body, squeezing it between two surfaces.

Your child has no broken bones, but tissue has been damaged. This injury can cause pain, swelling, and bruising. If the skin is broken, there may be bleeding.

Your child may be given a splint, shoe, or boot to protect the injured foot or toe while it heals. If a toenail has been injured, it may fall off. A new one will likely grow back within a month or so.

Home care

Your child's healthcare provider may prescribe medicine for swelling and pain. Follow all instructions for giving medicine to your child. If pain medicine was not prescribed, ask what medicine you should give your child for pain. Do not give your child aspirin unless told to by the healthcare provider.

General care

  • Infants and toddlers: Your child may be given a splint, shoe, or boot to protect the injured foot or toe while it heals.

  • Older children: Your child may be given crutches to keep weight off the affected foot. Help your child use the crutches as instructed. Your child should not walk or put weight on the injured foot until the doctor says it's OK. A splint is likely to break if the child walks or puts weight on it.

  • If the wound starts bleeding, apply pressure directly to the spot that is bleeding. Hold the pressure for 10 minutes without stopping.

  • Keep the affected foot raised to reduce pain and swelling. This is most important during the first 48 hours after injury. As often as possible, have the child sit or lie down and place pillows under the child's leg until the affected foot is raised above the level of the heart. For infants and younger children, watch that the pillows don't slip and move near the face.

  • Put a cold pack on the injury to help control swelling. 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 cast or splint doesn’t get wet. Hold the pack on the injured area for up to 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue this 3 to 4 times a day for the next 2 days, then as needed. The cold pack can be placed directly over the splint, unless told otherwise. If the child has a boot or shoe, open it to apply ice, unless told otherwise.

  • Care for a splint, shoe, or boot as you've been instructed. Don't put any powders or lotions inside the splint. Keep your child from sticking objects into the splint.

  • Keep the splint, shoe, boot, or removable cast dry. Unless you're told otherwise, a boot or shoe can be removed for bathing.

  • If the injury includes exposed cuts or scrapes, care for these as you have been instructed.

  • Watch for signs of infection listed below.

  • If a toenail has been injured, it may fall off. A new one will likely grow back within a month or so.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as advised.

Special note to parents

Healthcare providers are trained to see injuries such as this in young children as a sign of possible abuse. You may be asked questions about how your child was injured. Healthcare providers are required by law to ask you these questions. This is done to protect your child. Please try to be patient.

When to seek medical advice

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

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised

  • Your child doesn’t get better in 3 days

  • Fussiness or crying that can’t be soothed

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

  • Boot, shoe, or splint that gets wet, soft, or damaged

  • Swelling or pain that gets worse. Loosen the splint first to see if this fixes the problem.

  • Toes of the injured foot that are cold, blue, numb, or tingly. Loosen the splint first to see if this fixes the problem.

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell