Riding with broken toes

I few days ago I broke a couple of toes in several places (the doc uses the word “crushed”) and have been going crazy not being able to do any exercise. The doc wants me to do ZERO except for necessary walking for the next 3-5 weeks. This would drive me insane (seriously). I’ve been swimming and hitting a speedbag for some cardio, and doing some light weights, all while wearing a special shoe the doc gave me and with toes “splint taped.” My philosophy here, and please correct me if you think I’m wrong, is if I feel no pain, the activity must be OK. So today I tried riding uni just around the neighborhood, and felt no pain. I’m curious if anyone else has experience riding with broken toes, and how it worked out for you. Did it prolong your recovery? Thanks for any input. Excuse the ugly big toe in the photo, the missing nail is another story.

You may not feel it, but it still would “technically” hurt you, but…

Does it hurt to move your toes?

When something touches your broken toes, do you feel it?

Pretty much: Do they feel everything as normal, do they ache, or hurt, are they numb, etc.

Yeah, I haven’t studied this kind of thing despite wanting to be a doctor, but I’m more into Psychiatry, so I have to ask these questions. :stuck_out_tongue:

But generally, you shouldn’t be active with broken anything, to prevent further damage.

I did ride with a broken big toe: I just bought a pair of “security” shoes (with metal protection)

Your toes are longer than my fingers.

I’ve ridden a bike with a broken toe - probably on more than one occasion. I doubt it does any real harm - probably less of a problem than walking really. If it doesn’t hurt too much to be able to ride, I’d say just do it (disclaimer: just my opinion. I am NOT medically trained!)

My toes were never in quite such a mess as yours though, just simple cracked bones rather than smashed to bits. Did you HAVE to post a picture? :astonished:
You have to be careful if there’s fine chipped bone that could get into the blood stream and do nasty things. If the doctor says to avoid walking perhaps he had a reason.


EDIT: Before any smart-arse says it, no my bikes don’t have toes :slight_smile:

Yes, it’ll prolong the recovery if you cont to expose the break site to further trauma, esp if the bone is flexed while healing. In addition, the bone might not set correctly or you could end up with bone fragments of an irregular build up of scar tissue of bone.

That said, they are just toes :wink:

So go ride and use common sense, take anti-inflammatories, avoid shock trauma like you’d get from jumping and hopping.

I rode with a broken big toe a couple of summers ago. I tried on a bunch of shoes afterwards until I found one that seemed to protect it pretty well. It’s discussed in this thread.

It may not hurt to ride, but it’ll definitely hurt - and hurt the healing - to whack them again. I took the opportunity to work a lot on low-risk things like stillstands during the first couple of weeks of healing.

I rode with a broken foot 2 summers ago…

it’s not a good idea. Took ages to recover, about 3 months, and It probably took 6 months for me to be able to do trials again. Even now after some big drops I still feel it.

If the doc is saying do nothing for 3-5 weeks, I say don’t tempt fate, just get yourself a good computer game/book/girlfriend and wait it out. It’s not that long, you’ll be fine.

My friend rode Muni with me with his broken toe. It didn’t stopped him to do what he does normaly, it’s still not all recovered but it’s getting there!

I’ve never experienced a broken toe… yet…

Thanks for all the input everyone. I think I’ll just have to take it real easy and judge any harm by the amount of pain I get during the activity and after. Probably a great time to learn how to idle.

Two years ago I rode a bicycle with my leg broken. I don’t think I would ride my unicycle because there’s more chance of coming off hard. I started 2 weeks after my cast was put on. I did lots of hill climbing and it didn’t hurt anything. I don’t know how legs and toes compare as far as injuries go. It’s tough to let exercise go for weeks when you are over 40. Fitness goes quickly and can be hard to get back.

I hear you man. It’s not just the fitness, it’s also the stress-relieving effects that help offset the nattering nabobs of mortage payments, college tuitions, health insurance and all that summer sun going to waste.

If you are on NSAID’s you can’t trust you bodies pain reaction to protect you. Otherwise I think it’s okay to work within you threshold to feel pain to feel ANY pain. Any pain is reason to find something else or modify what you are doing. Speed bag work sounds like a good choice and it’s fun.

I was in walking cast 24x7 for six weeks to heal a bone in my foot. But since I had waited three weeks thinking it was turf toe I was hosed and now have two bones where there used to be one. It doesn’t keep me from doing much but it aches from time to time to let me know its there.

Doctors – what a bunch of idiots. What do they know? Hmm, let’s see. Rolling around in poison oak doesn’t hurt. Having sex with a person that has aids doesn’t hurt. Jumping off a building doesn’t hurt (at least the jump part), etc.

From your picture it looks like you’re somewhere between “a broken toe” and a pancake toe, like cartoon characters get. So the question is, how soon do you want to be healed? From my experience it’s good to take it way easy, at least at first. I know lots of people who “designed their own therapy” and never got back range of motion, or took twice as long to heal, etc.

Though you can live without some toes, I think it’s more about long-term pain. Let that area heal more before you start stressing it. I know my feet take a beating from dismount-free road riding. Otherwise, why would they go numb if I don’t pay attention?

The photo is not to scale. Still, sounds like you have an impressively large monitor! :slight_smile:

i currently have this same problem! i sprained my ligament in my ankle 7 weeks ago. i’ve tried to do minimal riding as possible. i can walk on it fine, and can run short distances before the pain starts to kick in. doing roll tricks i can’t feel pain, except for when i do backrolls. i can also do 3 spins and stuff and it doesn’t hurt, crankflips hurt a tad, but not as much. so my ankle isn’t fully better yet… but riding isn’t too bad, i probaly shouldn’t ride… but it’s hard to resist.

I hear you John, but I have had experiences where doctors, mostly because of our sue-happy and largely sedentary society, are extremely conservative in their “no activity” recommendations for healing. Plus when it comes to bodily signs, a broken toe is a lot different than poison oak or AIDS.

Perhaps the danger with using pain as a guide is that it’s likely possible to do small amounts of damage that aren’t painful while you’re exercising because it’s minimal and there’s a certain amount of numbness that comes with exercise (possibly from adrenaline or ??) that might mask it. But honestly, I’d rather take 6 weeks to heal and do SOME riding than 3 weeks with no riding. :o

So helpful Blue :stuck_out_tongue:

I rode when I broke my toe out on a MUni ride, it was fine just be careful and don’t do anything so wild.

I resemble that remark.

For active people it can be a fine line between always running for the Dr and seeing one right away when you should.

But sometimes it’s the Drs (typically ER) that missed the correct diagnosis. That is what happened to me with what is called a ‘high ankle sprain’.

A friend of mine rode with a broken neck. But he couldn’t unicycle so he fell off and broke his back as well (sorry no photo). He tried once more but got a pedal bite so hard his leg broke. Should I tell him to quit? :wink: