A small problem with my toe

Two days before Christmas, we were almost done unpacking the important stuff after moving to a new place. (For the first time in either of our lives, we’re actually living inside the Portland city limits! But that’s a story for another time.)

That’s a ceramic platter we have. It weighs nine pounds.  It fell off a chair onto the tip of my left big toe. I was wearing socks and standing on a hardwood floor. The platter hit edge-first. The good news — the platter is fine. The platter thanks you for your concern. My toe hurt like a mother. Here’s a blurry picture of what it looked like a few minutes later, after the searing pain had subsided.

I could wiggle my toe and touching it didn’t seem like it hurt that much — except for the nail — so I didn’t think it was broken. But soon it started to bleed out of the corner of the nail, and once it got going the blood wasn’t stopping. It didn’t hurt much, so we wrapped some paper towels around it and had dinner.

It was still bleeding an hour and a half later. It showed no sign of letting up and I was going through a lot of paper towels. We decided to go to the emergency room. I put on a flip-flop and we drove over. Here’s my toe in the hospital:

After an hour or so of waiting and triage, we saw a nice PA. The best thing about her was that she was also a marathon runner, so she was very sympathetic. Especially after her and my wife talked me into getting an x-ray, and it came back looking like this:

You don’t have to be much of a medical expert to see something wrong on that big toe. That should all be one bone, not five or six. Ouch. Shouldn’t that hurt more? Don’t ask me.

They pressure-bandaged the toe to slow the bleeding and sent me home in one of those open-toed post-surgical shoes. It oozed and bled for about four days; it was such a relief when I no longer needed any bandages. I limped pretty badly for a week and I still have to be very careful if I’m wearing shoes. I saw a podiatrist the week after it happened, but he didn’t give me anything different to do — no casts, splints or boots.

Obviously, I can’t run either. I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be out — I’m supposed to go by how it feels. Six to eight weeks is a good guess though. I’m two weeks and three days into it now.



4 Responses to A small problem with my toe

  1. Penelope Wallenstein says:

    How is the toe now months later? How long did it take till you could start running with it again? I broke my little toe yesterday night and the doctor says 6-8 weeks no sport…hell that is going to hurt..

    • Scott says:

      It was exactly six weeks for me before I was running again. It’s been fine since then except for the nail, which is actually still pretty gross looking. But it doesn’t affect my running – I’ve actually set a half marathon PR since then.

  2. Penny says:

    Wow well done on your PB After the injury!did you so absolutely no Sport in those 6 weeks?i was meant to be running my First marathon at the end of October And i am now totally gutted by the Prospect of my doctor’s recommendation to so NOTHING…no swimming NOTHING…

    • Scott says:

      I didn’t do anything but walk during those six weeks.

      I’m surprised to hear your doc says you shouldn’t do *anything* while it heals, actually. I’m not a doctor or a podiatrist of course, but my impression from what I was told when I broke my big toe was that breaking a little one wasn’t as big a deal — that you could remain active as long as you weren’t in pain. Could your doctor be being extra conservative? It may depend on how you broke it in the first place though, or where the break is.

      If you’re really out for six or eight weeks though, I think you might want to try to find a later marathon for your first. You’ll come back quickly, but I think October would really be pushing it for most people.

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