How to Tape a Hurt Toe

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Toe injuries can occur quite easily. Whether you’ve dropped a heavy object on your toe, stubbed your toe on the newly arranged furniture or kicked the wall when realizing your lotto ticket was one number off, there's one commonality: it hurts. Your toes are made up of 19 different small bones that can easily be injured and even broken. While serious toe injuries require a doctor’s care, taping them limits any movement that can cause further pain or worsen the injury.

Step 1

Gather all the supplies you’ll need. Getting your materials together before you start will prevent you from having to walk more than you need to before you get your toe supported by wrapping it.

Step 2

Check to see if you are bleeding. With some toe injuries, the skin may be cut. If so, spread on antibiotic ointment and place a small bandage on the toe to prevent the blood from sticking to your wrapping and to keep germs out of your wound.

Step 3

Grasp your hurt toe and its neighbor. The next uninjured toe will also be included in the wrapping, so decide which toe you will use as a buddy to support or splint the injured toe.

Step 4

Insert padding in-between the two toes. This can be gauze, cotton or another similar material such as a piece of felt. Padding should be the same length as your toes and should be thick enough to fit comfortably between the two without stretching them too far apart. The padding provides cushioning between the two toes so that they don’t rub together and cause pain; it also absorbs any moisture that may be between the toes.

Step 5

Wrap it up. Place one end of the tape on the front of your toes and begin to wrap around both the injured and support toe. Make two to three rounds or more, depending on the size of your toe, with the tape in an even fashion to support the entire length of both toes. Cut the tape and press gently down until the end is secured.

Things You'll Need

  • Adhesive tape

  • Gauze or cotton

  • Scissors

  • Bandage

  • Antibiotic ointment

Tip

Change the tape and padding every few days. Showering and other activities can cause the tape to become loose or dirty. If you have any open wounds that need bandage changes, change the tape during that process as well. Keep toes wrapped until healed; with serious injuries such as a break, this may take up to four weeks.

Warning

Due to possible circulation issues, diabetics should not wrap their toes, and instead should contact a doctor who can give advice on how to treat the injury. Wrapping the toes too tightly may cut off circulation. If you notice skin color changes that aren't from bruising or swelling, loosen the tape to allow for better blood flow. If you toe is severely bent or you can see bone, don't wrap it. Get to a doctor or emergency room to have it set back into place.

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