dislocated pinky toe

Dislocated Pinky Toe? Causes, Symptoms, & 3 First-aid Treatments

A dislocated pinky toe is a relatively frequent occurrence, especially in contact sports such as football.
Jamming your toe or any injury that causes bending or twisting can cause a dislocated pinky toe.

According to Mayo Clinic staff, “A dislocation is an injury to a joint — a place where two or more bones come together — in which the ends of your bones are forced from their normal positions. This painful injury temporarily deforms and immobilizes your joint.” In simpler words, dislocation is a complete bone-separation in a joint. Also, the ligaments which hold your bones together are often torn.
Additionally, a dislocated pinky toe comes with you experiencing sharp pain and swelling. Also, you may hear a tearing or snapping noise. And your toe might appear crooked or out of alignment.

In this article, we will have a peek at the potential causes and what you should do with a swollen pinky toe.

What is a dislocated pinky toe?

A dislocated pinky toe can occur when you bang your toe or stretch it too far backward.
Dislocated toes among athletes and people over 65 are fairly common.

Your pinky and all the other toes have three bones except for your big toe. Dislocation at either of those joints may occur.

Furthermore, the dislocation may be incomplete, indicating that the bones are not separated. An incomplete dislocation is called a subluxation. While, a complete dislocation is when the bone is intact, but out of its normal position altogether. A toe bone may be dislocated, and another toe bone can also sustain damage, for example, a fracture.

What are the Symptoms of a dislocated pinky toe?

The symptoms of a dislocated pinky toe include:

  • Experiencing pain when you move the toe.
  • A crooked appearance
  • Bruising
  • Numbness
  • Swelling

    How can a dislocated pinky toe be treated?
    A dislocated pinky toe can be treated either by closed or open reduction depending on its severity

First-aid treatment for a dislocated Pinky toe

If you have a painful injury to the toe, you should seek immediate emergency care. Consequently, waiting can lead to complications and permanent damage, especially as you keep on walking or staying on your feet.

Before going to the hospital, here are first-aid tratments you can give to yourself when you experience dislocation of the pink toe:

  1. Don’t move on a dislocated toe.
  2. Lying flat, hold up your foot so that it’s higher than your head (This aids in preventing swelling.)
  3. To decrease pain and swelling, apply an ice pack or some ice wrapped in a towel to the affected toe. Keep this on for the first few hours for 10 to 20 minutes each hour, until you can get help.
    Those measures apply to individuals of all ages.


Pain relievers can help manage the pain, including aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). However, please do not take these medications until your doctor has approved it. Also, do not use such pain relievers for small children, and adopt acceptable dosages for older ones.

How can one diagnose a dislocated toe?

Diagnosis begins with a physical examination, which may include gentle handling of the injured toe to feel for dislocation, fracture, sprain, or breakage. A pain reliever or muscle relaxant may be given to you by your doctor to make the examination less painful. Or they may inject a local anesthetic close to the injured zone.

If the joint feels unstable, then it is a sign of possible dislocation.

Also, if the doctor assumes a dislocation, they are likely to take an X-ray to validate it. Then your doctor will want to be sure that there is no accompanying fracture. So a CT scan may be performed to see if there are minor fractures. MRI imaging can be done, too. These are, in general, unnecessary except in unusual cases.

Treatment for a dislocated pinky toe

The procedure for treating a dislocated toe is to reposition the bones into the proper configuration. A doctor does this.
The realignment of the bones is called reduction in a joint.

There are two types of reduction in a join;

  1. The Closed reduction.
  2. Open reduction treatment

Closed Reduction Treatment Option

Closed reduction is where the bones are repositioned without intervention, by outward stimulation. Dislocated toes can usually be treated with a closed reduction, but an open reduction (surgery) is sometimes required.

However, a closed reduction can be painful, and a sedative or local anesthetic may be injected by your doctor to help you manage it.

Open Reduction Treatment Option

Open reduction is a surgery that takes place in the operating room. And general anesthesia will be given through injection or a face mask.

For some instances, the dislocated bones leading to internal trauma can not be repositioned. It is termed irreducible dislocation. And the actual internal damage needs advanced surgery.

After the reduction Treatment

Whether performed closed or open, after the treatment is carried out, the patient:

  1. A splint and probably protective boots may be provided to hold the toe in place while the damage recovers.
  2. The large toe may be wrapped in an elastic bandage to keep it aligned, and may have a cast.
  3. Crutches may also be given to keep the weight off your injured toe.


A dislocated pinky toe is a severe injury. The discomfort, swelling, and bent appearance of the toe will generally indicate this.
Consequently, this will typically be straightened out by a doctor in the hospital. Also, wearing proper footwear and avoiding unnecessary risks in sports and other activities can help prevent the dislocation of your toes.

Always see your doctor when you experience symptoms of dislocation or fractures in any of your joints. Be it the knee, toe, or any other part of your joints. It is always better to prevent occurrence than to cure.

dislocated pinky toe
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