How to Exercise With a Broken Toe

Focus on mobility and strengthening exercises to help rehabilitate your broken toe.
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Working out with a broken toe may be painful, especially if you are doing exercises that require your foot to bear weight. Limit painful exercises and focus on your upper body until your toe fully heals.

Broken toes are common and usually result from dropping something on your foot or stubbing your toe. Symptoms of a break include pain, swelling, stiffness and bruising of the toe. In most cases, these breaks heal with time and rest but in severe cases may require surgical treatment.


Exercise with a broken toe by focusing on upper-body and core movements that don't put pressure on your injury. As the pain dissipates, slowly resume your normal workout, but do not do exercises that cause pain as this can slow healing and possibly worsen the injury.

Treatment for a Broken Toe

In most cases, you can treat a broken toe with home care, advises MedlinePlus. Depending on the severity of the fracture, it may take up to four to six weeks for the injury to fully heal, but you may be free of pain and swelling in as little as a week.

After the injury, rest your foot. Working out or doing yoga with a broken toe or doing any other activity that causes pain is not recommended. Ice your toe and elevate your foot to decrease swelling and take over-the-counter pain medications if needed for the pain.

As the pain dissipates, slowly return to your normal activities. If you experience pain, stop the exercise and ice your toe. Wear shoes that offer strong support for your foot and consider buddy taping to further support your toe. Buddy taping uses the neighboring, uninjured toe to provide support for the fractured toe. Place a small piece of cotton between your injured toe and the neighboring toe and then tape the two toes together.


If you have a severe toe injury, such as a break in the big toe or a fracture that causes the toe to be crooked or breaks the skin, do not attempt to treat the injury on your own as you may need surgery to treat the fracture. Consult your doctor immediately.

Read more: How to Do Cardio With a Broken Toe

Broken Toe Rehabilitation Exercises

Once your doctor clears you to exercise your foot, consider exercises to restore mobility and strength to your foot, especially if your injury was severe. Place a towel on the floor. Keeping your heel on the ground, use your toes to bring the cloth toward you. You can also try tracing the alphabet on the floor using your toes, suggests MedlinePlus.

Until your toe is pain-free and strong enough to support you for your normal workout routine, consider modifying your exercise program, advises Ohio State University. Many upper body weight lifting activities can be done in a seated position, so focusing on your upper body until your toe heals is an excellent alternative.

Read more: Broken Little Toe and Running

You can also get cardio in by using upper body options like hand pedals or a low impact option such as swimming. Also, focus on stretching and core exercises that don't require you to bear weight on your broken toe.