Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries Inland ENT and Facial Plastics (2022)

Do you have a toe, foot, or ankle injury?

Yes

Toe, foot, or ankle injury

No

Toe, foot, or ankle injury

How old are you?

Less than 5 years

Less than 5 years

5 years or older

5 years or older

Are you male or female?

Male

Male

Female

Female

  • If you are transgender or nonbinary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
  • If your symptoms aren?t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
  • If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as "male" and once as "female"). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.

Has it been more than a month since the toe, foot, or ankle injury?

Yes

Toe, foot, or ankle injury over a month ago

No

Toe, foot, or ankle injury over a month ago

Have you had toe, foot, or ankle surgery in the past month?

If a cast, splint, or brace is causing the problem, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.

Yes

Toe, foot, or ankle surgery in the past month

No

Toe, foot, or ankle surgery in the past month

Do you think that any of your toes might have frostbite?

Yes

Cold temperature exposure

No

Cold temperature exposure

Have you had a major trauma in the past 2 to 3 hours?

Yes

Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours

No

Major trauma in past 2 to 3 hours

Do you have severe bleeding that has not slowed down with direct pressure?

Yes

Severe bleeding

No

Severe bleeding

Do you have symptoms of shock?

The symptoms in an adult or older child are different than the symptoms in a young child.

Yes

Symptoms of shock

No

Symptoms of shock

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Are you having trouble moving your foot or toes normally?

You may not be able to move it because of pain or swelling or because it is out of its normal position.

Yes

Difficulty moving foot

No

Difficulty moving foot

Can you move the toes, foot, and ankle at all?

Yes

Able to move the toes, foot, and ankle

No

Unable to move the toes, foot, and ankle

Have you had trouble moving the foot or toes for more than 2 days?

Yes

Difficulty moving foot for more than 2 days

No

Difficulty moving foot for more than 2 days

Is there any pain in the toes, foot, or ankle?

Yes

Pain in toes, foot, or ankle

No

Pain in toes, foot, or ankle

How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?

Signs of pain in a baby or toddler are different than signs of pain in an older child.

5 to 10: Moderate to severe pain

Moderate to severe pain

1 to 4: Mild pain

Mild pain

Has the pain:

Do you have any pain in your toes, foot, or ankle?

Yes

Toe, foot, or ankle pain

No

Toe, foot, or ankle pain

How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?

8 to 10: Severe pain

Severe pain

5 to 7: Moderate pain

Moderate pain

1 to 4: Mild pain

Mild pain

Has the pain:

Gotten worse?

Pain is getting worse

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Stayed about the same (not better or worse)?

Pain is unchanged

Gotten better?

Pain is getting better

Has the pain lasted for more than 2 days?

Yes

Pain for more than 2 days

No

Pain for more than 2 days

Is the foot or are any of the toes blue, very pale, or cold and different from the other foot or toes?

If the foot or leg is in a cast, splint, or brace, follow the instructions you got about how to loosen it.

Yes

Foot or toes are blue, very pale, or cold and different from other foot or toes

No

Foot or toes are blue, very pale, or cold and different from other foot or toes

Is any part of a toe partially or completely cut off?

Yes

Part of toe cut off

No

Part of toe cut off

Is it more than the tip of the toe or more than half the size of a dime, or can you see the bone?

Gently wash off any dirt, wrap the cut-off part in a clean cloth, put the wrapped part in a plastic bag, place the bag on ice to keep the digit cool and bring it to the hospital.

Yes

More than tip of toe severed

No

More than tip of toe severed

Is there any swelling or bruising?

Yes

Swelling or bruising

No

Swelling or bruising

Did you have swelling or bruising within 30 minutes of the injury?

Yes

Swelling or bruising within 30 minutes of injury

No

Swelling or bruising within 30 minutes of injury

Has swelling lasted for more than 2 days?

Yes

Swelling for more than 2 days

No

Swelling for more than 2 days

Do you have weakness, numbness, or tingling in your foot that has lasted more than an hour?

Weakness is being unable to use the foot or toes normally no matter how hard you try. Pain or swelling may make it hard to move, but that is not the same as weakness.

Yes

Weakness, numbness, or tingling for more than 1 hour

No

Weakness, numbness, or tingling for more than 1 hour

Do you suspect that the injury may have been caused by abuse?

This is a standard question that we ask in certain topics. It may not apply to you. But asking it of everyone helps us to get people the help they need.

Yes

Injury may have been caused by abuse

No

Injury may have been caused by abuse

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Are there any symptoms of infection?

Yes

Symptoms of infection

No

Symptoms of infection

Do you think the problem may be causing a fever?

Some bone and joint problems can cause a fever.

Yes

Possible fever

No

Possible fever

Do you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, peripheral arterial disease, or any surgical hardware in the area?

"Hardware" includes things like artificial joints, plates or screws, catheters, and medicine pumps.

Yes

Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area

No

Diabetes, immune problems, peripheral arterial disease, or surgical hardware in affected area

Is the foot trapped in something, like a jar or a toy?

Yes

Foot is trapped

No

Foot is trapped

Was an object stuck in your toe or foot?

This could be something like a nail, a needle, or a large piece of wood, metal, or plastic.

Yes

Object was embedded

No

Object was embedded

Is the object still in your foot?

Yes

Object is still embedded

No

Object is still embedded

Did the object go through a shoe or boot?

An object that has enough force behind it to go through a shoe can cause serious injury to the foot. Puncture wounds in the sole of the foot also have a high risk of infection.

Yes

Object went through a shoe or boot

No

Object went through a shoe or boot

Do you think you may need a tetanus shot?

Yes

May need tetanus shot

No

May need tetanus shot

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Have you had symptoms for more than a week?

Yes

Symptoms for more than a week

No

Symptoms for more than a week

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), medicines that suppress the immune system like steroids or chemotherapy, herbal remedies, or supplements can cause symptoms or make them worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.

HomeTreatment

WhereToGo

Pain in adults and older children

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that you can't stand it for more than a few hours, can't sleep, and can't do anything else except focus on the pain.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt your normal activities and your sleep, but you can tolerate it for hours or days. Moderate can also mean pain that comes and goes even if it's severe when it's there.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): You notice the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt your sleep or activities.

Major trauma is any event that can cause very serious injury, such as:

  • A fall from more than 10 ft (3.1 m)[more than 5 ft (1.5 m) for children under 2 years and adults over 65].
  • A car crash in which any vehicle involved was going more than 20 miles (32 km) per hour.
  • Any event that causes severe bleeding that you cannot control.
  • Any event forceful enough to badly break a large bone (like an arm bone or leg bone).

Pain in children under 3 years

It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the baby cannot sleep, cannot get comfortable, and cries constantly no matter what you do. The baby may kick, make fists, or grimace.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The baby is very fussy, clings to you a lot, and may have trouble sleeping but responds when you try to comfort him or her.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The baby is a little fussy and clings to you a little but responds when you try to comfort him or her.

Pain in children 3 years and older

  • Severe pain (8 to 10): The pain is so bad that the child can't stand it for more than a few hours, can't sleep, and can't do anything else except focus on the pain. No one can tolerate severe pain for more than a few hours.
  • Moderate pain (5 to 7): The pain is bad enough to disrupt the child's normal activities and sleep, but the child can tolerate it for hours or days.
  • Mild pain (1 to 4): The child notices and may complain of the pain, but it is not bad enough to disrupt his or her sleep or activities.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may quickly occur after a sudden illness or injury.

Adults and older children often have several symptoms of shock. These include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Feeling very dizzy or lightheaded, like you may pass out.
  • Feeling very weak or having trouble standing.
  • Not feeling alert or able to think clearly. You may be confused, restless, fearful, or unable to respond to questions.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly after a sudden illness or injury.

Babies and young children often have several symptoms of shock. These include:

  • Passing out (losing consciousness).
  • Being very sleepy or hard to wake up.
  • Not responding when being touched or talked to.
  • Breathing much faster than usual.
  • Acting confused. The child may not know where he or she is.

With severe bleeding, any of these may be true:

  • Blood is pumping from the wound.
  • The bleeding does not stop or slow down with pressure.
  • Blood is quickly soaking through bandage after bandage.

With moderate bleeding, any of these may be true:

  • The bleeding slows or stops with pressure but starts again if you remove the pressure.
  • The blood may soak through a few bandages, but it is not fast or out of control.

With mild bleeding, any of these may be true:

  • The bleeding stops on its own or with pressure.
  • The bleeding stops or slows to an ooze or trickle after 15 minutes of pressure. It may ooze or trickle for up to 45 minutes.

When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood supply to the area. This can be serious.

There are other reasons for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and this change does not go away.

Symptoms of infection may include:

  • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in or around the area.
  • Red streaks leading from the area.
  • Pus draining from the area.
  • A fever.

Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:

  • Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Long-term alcohol and drug problems.
  • Steroid medicines, which may be used to treat a variety of conditions.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.
  • Other medicines used to treat autoimmune disease.
  • Medicines taken after organ transplant.
  • Not having a spleen.

Usually found in dirt and soil, tetanus bacteria typically enter the body through a wound. Wounds may include a bite, a cut, a puncture, a burn, a scrape, insect bites, or any injury that may cause broken skin.

You may need a tetanus shot depending on how dirty the wound is and how long it has been since your last shot.

  • For a dirty wound that has things like dirt, saliva, or feces in it, you may need a shot if:
    • You haven't had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years.
    • You don't know when your last shot was.
  • For a clean wound, you may need a shot if:
    • You have not had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years.
    • You don't know when your last shot was.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.

  • Call your doctor today to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have one, seek care today.
  • If it is evening, watch the symptoms and seek care in the morning.
  • If the symptoms get worse, seek care sooner.

HomeTreatment

WhereToGo

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
    • You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now.

Put direct, steady pressure on the wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.

Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Make an Appointment

Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.

  • Make an appointment to see your doctor in the next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If appropriate, try home treatment while you are waiting for the appointment.
  • If symptoms get worse or you have any concerns, call your doctor. You may need care sooner.

HomeTreatment

WhereToGo

Postoperative Problems

Cold Temperature Exposure

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