A good treatment regimen for recovering from a sprained toe may include:
1. Rest. This is perhaps the simplest treatment and the most difficult to commit to, but if a sprained toe is going to heal quickly, you must give your injured toe a break. Take a few days off from your sport if possible. Avoid other activities that require you to be on your feet for long periods of time.
2. I.C.E. Most people have heard of the treatment regimen commonly referred to as I.C.E. (Ice, Compression, Elevation) because it works so well. Especially in the first few days after your injury, apply all three steps of I.C.E. religiously.
I: Ice your toe for periods of 20 minutes up to five times a day. (You can make your “ice packs” at home by wrapping ice cubes in a towel or paper towel.)
C: It can be difficult to apply the principle of “compression” to a toe, but you can try. If your injured toe is your big toe, wrap the toe with a compression bandage and then wrap your forefoot. If your other toes are injured, it may be helpful to wrap your forefoot but speak with your coach or doctor first. Sometimes wrapping the toes can aggravate the injury.
E: And finally, elevate your foot several times a day. It is a good idea to sleep with a pillow or pile of folded blankets under your injured foot. When elevating your toe, make sure you lift your foot above the level of your heart. This will help to reduce swelling.
3. Wear shoes that protect your feet. While recovering from a sprained toe, be sure to wear closed-toed shoes that protect your feet. Nothing is worse than having a sprained toe stepped on by a clumsy passerby! Make sure that your closed-toed shoes have a wide and deep toe boxes that will not pinch or cramp your toes. Avoid shoes with heels, as high heels cause your feet to slide forward into the toe box, putting pressure on your toes. Wear shoes with seamless interiors if possible. If your toe is swollen, it may be more sensitive to friction or pressure on the inside of your shoe.
4. Toe exercises. In order to regain full range of motion of your toes, it is important rehabilitate the muscles and ligaments with certain toe exercises. Talk to your doctor, coach or athletic director about what kind of exercises would be helpful and about when to start them. Common exercises include: flexing your toes, extending your toes and toe raises.