Physiotherapy for Swollen Toe

Swollen toe is caused by the buildup of fluids in the affected toe. Several injuries and medical conditions can result in toe swelling. Common conditions that may cause swollen toe include toe injuries, psoriatic arthritis and gout. Treatment for swollen toe may vary depending on the underlying cause.

A collection of excessive fluid in any region of the body is called edema. The swelling may not cause any pain, and may be accompanied with other symptoms such as bruising, pain, itching, redness, numbness, tenderness and stiffness.

Severity of a swelling may depend on the underlying cause of the injury. For example, a mild swelling may occur as a result of standing for prolonged periods, whereas a severe swelling may be caused by an injury, a broken toe, a toe sprain or an underlying medical condition such as arthritis or heart failure.

Swelling that is caused by an injury may result in a sudden onset and a swollen toe caused by a medical condition may develop gradually and linger for a longer period of time compared to an injury.

Swollen toe rarely results in life-threatening complications, but it is important that you seek immediate medical care if an injury caused heavy bleeding and/or tissue damage.

If toe swelling is recurrent, persistent or causes symptoms that may concern you, seek immediate medical attention.


Follow these treatment steps if you have a swollen toe. Be sure to consult your doctor before considering treatment, especially if swollen toe does not occur due to an obvious injury.

  1. Apply ice to affected toe to reduce swelling
  2. Elevate the affected foot above heart level to control swelling. Make sure that you prop your foot upward using your pillow while you are resting. Rest is a primary treatment measure that should not be avoided in case of a swollen toe and most other foot injuries
  3. If the toe is swollen because it is broken, it helps to buddy tape it with the adjacent toe which is not injured. This will help immobilize the affected toe and encourage healing. Place some gauze between the affected and buddy toe before taping them together in order to prevent friction while moving and irritation of the skin.
  4. Your doctor may prescribe medication, in case; your swollen toe is caused due to an underlying medical condition. People with psoriatic arthritis may have toes that look like sausages due to the swelling. You may take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, if you are not suffering from any medical condition, to reduce swelling and pain in the feet. Medication for swelling caused by gout can also control inflammation in the toe, which is often caused to uric acid buildup in the affected toe joint.
  5. Eat the right foods. Make sure you avoid eating too much foods containing sodium or sodium rich foods. Sodium can result in fluid retention and cause toe swelling as well. Swelling usually occurs in the lower extremities during water retention. People with gout are required to modify their diets to ensure that they do not eat many purine rich foods like organ meat – which can thereby cause swelling in the toes.
  6. Wear appropriate shoes. Avoid wearing tight shoes as it may cause swelling in the toes. Moreover, improper shoes can also result in neuromas — which are benign nerve growths – between the toes of the foot due to tissue rubbing.
  7. Massage the affected toe to enhance blood floor to the feet and toes. This may greatly improve pain and swelling.

See a doctor if you have an ingrown nail, which may occur due to improper trimming or hereditary defects. Your doctor may have to remove the nail form the skin and trim it properly in order to control swelling and reduce the risk of infections.

To avoid aggravating toe swelling and to prevent future toe injuries call a Perth physiotherapist today at 927 27359!