How to Care for a Swollen Toe

A person can experience swelling in one toe or several toes at the same time. Several injuries or medical conditions can cause toes to swell. Common reasons to experience swelling in the toes include an injury to the toe, gout and psoriatic arthritis. The treatment for a swollen toe will vary depending on the cause of the swelling. Some treatments require minimal home care, while other conditions require more advanced treatment measures. Consult a physician to determine the cause of the edema before treating swelling of the toes.

Step 1

Apply ice compresses to swelling caused by an injury to the toe.

Step 2

Elevate your foot above the level of your heart to help reduce swelling. When lying down, prop your foot on a couple of pillows. Resting your feet is important when your toes swell.

Step 3

Tape a broken toe to the toe next to it. This method, referred to as buddy taping, will help stabilize and support the healing toe. Place gauze between the toes before taping them to prevent friction and irritation on the skin.

Step 4

Take medications prescribed by your physician to treat any medical conditions causing your toe to swell. People suffering from psoriatic arthritis may have toes that resemble sausages because of the swelling. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antirheumatic medications can help control the condition and reduce the swelling to the feet. Taking medications can also help control conditions, such as gout, which can cause inflammation in the great toe because of uric acid crystals building up in the joint.

Step 5

Control your diet. Eating foods high in sodium can cause you to retain fluids. Swelling may occur in the lower extremities when retaining water. People with gout should modify their diets and not eat purine-rich foods, such as organ meat, which can lead to swelling in the toes.

Step 6

Wear shoes that fit properly. Wearing tight shoes may cause swelling in the toes. Ill-fitting shoes can also cause neuromas — benign growths of nerves located between two toes — to occur because of tissue rubbing together.

Step 7

Massage your toes to help increase blood supply to the feet and toes, which may help reduce the swelling.

Step 8

See a doctor to treat an ingrown toenail. An ingrown nail grows into the skin and tissue surrounding the nail bed. Common causes for ingrown nails include improper nail trimming, foot structure and heredity. A physician may need to dig the nail out of the skin and clip it properly to reduce swelling and avoid painful infections.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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