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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: So, I probably broke my big toe... Reply with quote

I went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment and a massage (I have great insurance!)

The guy seems pretty knowledgeable about the body, so I complained about my toe. He thought he'd give it a tug, and it caused quite a bit of pain. His thought is that I either broke it, or really damaged some ligaments. It doesn't hurt at all even when standing. Only when walking, or if I bend it too far.

Has anyone trained with a broken toe? I'll obviously be staying way from front and round kicks (maybe all kicks) for a while. Is this something I should let completely heal, or should I be okay with some careful training?

For what it's worth, I know this isn't medical advice... I'm simply looking for something anecdotal.
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: So, I probably broke my big toe... Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
I went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment and a massage (I have great insurance!)

The guy seems pretty knowledgeable about the body, so I complained about my toe. He thought he'd give it a tug, and it caused quite a bit of pain. His thought is that I either broke it, or really damaged some ligaments. It doesn't hurt at all even when standing. Only when walking, or if I bend it too far.

Has anyone trained with a broken toe? I'll obviously be staying way from front and round kicks (maybe all kicks) for a while. Is this something I should let completely heal, or should I be okay with some careful training?

For what it's worth, I know this isn't medical advice... I'm simply looking for something anecdotal.


I smashed a big toe joint in an accident. I knew it hurt but didn't find out until a long time later that it had broke. A&E missed it when they xrayed it. But they did advise no training at all for at least 12 weeks, and to keep all weight off for at least a couple of weeks until the swelling has gone.

Now comes the cautionary tale.

For me, this was 3 or 4 years ago. I ignored the medical advice. I returned to training the following week. I did limit some of the things I did, and didn't kick anything or anyone for a while, but far too soon after injury I was jumping about on it.

The pain never fully went. I'm fact at one point it got much worse. It's ruined now. I've basically ripped up all the cartilage in there. Osteoarthritis is in there now. I still train, but I've had to modify some techniques to work for me. There are some I'll never be able to do effectively. It's also not unusual for me to have to stop training for a few weeks at a time if I knock my foot a certain way, it becomes very painful for days or weeks.

All of this because I ignored medical advice and thought I'd man up.

If I'd followed medical advice at the time, my broken bones might have set right, the torn cartilage might have scarred over and at least regenerated a bit, and the whole accident might have been ancient history.

So my advice is, take it easy. Keep weight off as much as possible. Absolutely don't flex your toe more than absolutely necessary yet. Give it a few weeks to recover. Focus on upper body and hand techniques in the meantime, or study theory.

And in case anyone is thinking, man up, it's just a toe, in normal walking with each step a force equivalent to several times your body weight goes through the big toe joint. If pain stops it working effectively, your gait will alter and in no time you'll have knee and hip pain too.

Look after your feet. They're important
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2380
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: So, I probably broke my big toe... Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
I went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment and a massage (I have great insurance!)

The guy seems pretty knowledgeable about the body, so I complained about my toe. He thought he'd give it a tug, and it caused quite a bit of pain. His thought is that I either broke it, or really damaged some ligaments. It doesn't hurt at all even when standing. Only when walking, or if I bend it too far.

Has anyone trained with a broken toe? I'll obviously be staying way from front and round kicks (maybe all kicks) for a while. Is this something I should let completely heal, or should I be okay with some careful training?

For what it's worth, I know this isn't medical advice... I'm simply looking for something anecdotal.


I smashed a big toe joint in an accident. I knew it hurt but didn't find out until a long time later that it had broke. A&E missed it when they xrayed it. But they did advise no training at all for at least 12 weeks, and to keep all weight off for at least a couple of weeks until the swelling has gone.

Now comes the cautionary tale.

For me, this was 3 or 4 years ago. I ignored the medical advice. I returned to training the following week. I did limit some of the things I did, and didn't kick anything or anyone for a while, but far too soon after injury I was jumping about on it.

The pain never fully went. I'm fact at one point it got much worse. It's ruined now. I've basically ripped up all the cartilage in there. Osteoarthritis is in there now. I still train, but I've had to modify some techniques to work for me. There are some I'll never be able to do effectively. It's also not unusual for me to have to stop training for a few weeks at a time if I knock my foot a certain way, it becomes very painful for days or weeks.

All of this because I ignored medical advice and thought I'd man up.

If I'd followed medical advice at the time, my broken bones might have set right, the torn cartilage might have scarred over and at least regenerated a bit, and the whole accident might have been ancient history.

So my advice is, take it easy. Keep weight off as much as possible. Absolutely don't flex your toe more than absolutely necessary yet. Give it a few weeks to recover. Focus on upper body and hand techniques in the meantime, or study theory.

And in case anyone is thinking, man up, it's just a toe, in normal walking with each step a force equivalent to several times your body weight goes through the big toe joint. If pain stops it working effectively, your gait will alter and in no time you'll have knee and hip pain too.

Look after your feet. They're important


OneKickWonder’s post mirrors what I’ve seen a few times in my athletic training career. Get it checked out. People have the mentality of “if it’s broken, there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.” Which to an extent is true. If it’s a simple fracture (fracture and break are the same thing), they usually won’t cast it nor give you a special shoe. They’ll tell you to stay off of it. In rare cases it may require surgery.

One that immediately sticks out in my mind is a soccer player I had. He came in as a freshman and complained about pain in his big toe. He’d had it going on 2 years. Apparently he never rested it. When we x-rayed it, it was still broken in the original spot; it never healed. You honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the original x-ray and the new one 2 years later. It took a good 12 weeks for it to heal (the last x-ray at 12 weeks was “good enough”). He had problems with it for the next 2 seasons. So all in all, it took 4 years to fully feel normal because he didn’t rest it initially. And that was when he was 18-20 years old. We don’t exactly heal and recover as well as we did at that age.

Get it checked and follow the physician’s advice. They actually usually know what they’re talking about when it comes to this stuff
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I woke up this morning, and the range of motion has greatly increased. I can curl my toes (as if I were making a fist with my feet) almost fully, which minimal discomfort. Curling them back (like you would for a front kick) still hurts, but not nearly as much as it did yesterday.

I still didn't go in to get an X-Ray image done... but I'm suspecting that it might not be as bad as I thought yesterday!

At any rate, the advice above is pretty much what I expected to see, and is what I was planning to follow. There is a potential opportunity for me to test in March/April... hopefully I recover fast enough to be able to train appropriately for that. Or else, I'll have to wait until the end of summer, or early fall.
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(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
So, I woke up this morning, and the range of motion has greatly increased. I can curl my toes (as if I were making a fist with my feet) almost fully, which minimal discomfort. Curling them back (like you would for a front kick) still hurts, but not nearly as much as it did yesterday.

I still didn't go in to get an X-Ray image done... but I'm suspecting that it might not be as bad as I thought yesterday!

At any rate, the advice above is pretty much what I expected to see, and is what I was planning to follow. There is a potential opportunity for me to test in March/April... hopefully I recover fast enough to be able to train appropriately for that. Or else, I'll have to wait until the end of summer, or early fall.


It's amazing what you learn after the damage is done. When you start reading up on possible treatment options.

The cartilage in the big toe joint is of a different composition to what's in the bigger joints like knees. It's much softer basically. If it tears or is crushed, it can heal with scarring. New cartilage is unlikely to grow, but scar tissue can effectively stitch the rip back together. But only if it's kept relaxed and still for long enough for that to happen.

When you end up with a gap in cartilage that is not healing quickly enough, perhaps because you keep testing it, there is a secondary mechanism that kicks in. Nobody is quite sure why. Some think it is the body making a last attempt to protect the joint. As far as I know there is no definite answer yer as to why, it happens, but it's well known and documented that it does. That is, the bone is stimulated to grow in place of the injured cartilage. You really, really don't want that. That's what's happened and us still happening to me. Little spikes of bone form on the normally smooth joint surfaces where cartilage used to be. Cartilage in the toe is kind of like rubber. It can absorb shock when healthy. Bone is not. The bone spurs keep growing, slowly displacing the remaining cartilage, and range of motion diminishes.

For some, this degenerative process stops after a while, and you're left with a toe that still works to some extent. For others the long term outlook is a condition called hallux rigidus. Basically the whole big toe joint fuses and becomes one bone. If that happens the range of motion is nil, nada, nothing.

Sorry, not trying to scare anyone. I just don't want another person to make the same mistakes as I, and no doubt countless others, have made.

Proper rest and recovery time will probably mean that in a couple of years, if you can even remember this, it will be an amusing anecdote about when you bashed your toe.

And if you miss grading, ask yourself this. What would the grade prove to you? Would it prove that you have really learned something about marshal arts and your own true self? Or would it prove that you're prepared to risk years of pain and limping just for a new belt colour?
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm definitely taking it easy. I did a bit of a workout yesterday, with no ill effects (I made sure I didn't put weight on the toe when I did my push ups.) Kicking pads and mat-work will likely be avoided for a week or two... but I don't think the injury is nearly as bad ad I thought a couple days ago, as it seems to be healing nicely.
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(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
I'm definitely taking it easy. I did a bit of a workout yesterday, with no ill effects (I made sure I didn't put weight on the toe when I did my push ups.) Kicking pads and mat-work will likely be avoided for a week or two... but I don't think the injury is nearly as bad ad I thought a couple days ago, as it seems to be healing nicely.


I'm glad to read you're probably not as hurt as you thought.

Out of interest though, how do you do pushups without putting pressure on your big toes? I'm interested because big toes are now next to useless, so I'm always looking for ways to train as normally as possible without them getting in the way.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1736

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very common injury and often happens when toes are improperly held when kicking or if the toes are not sufficiently trained for toe-point kicks. The big toe is the main point of contact in this type of kick and it is very easy to break it if the toes buckle on impact.

As far as care goes, there really isn’t much to do. As with any broken bones, it takes a minimum time to heal completely and this will depend on an individual’s age, sex and overall health. Also the size of the bone is important. Obviously it will not heal as slow as a leg or arm because toe bones are quite small. To allow it to heal properly, it would be a good idea to immobilize it with strong cloth tape and a semi-rigid splint(optional). Also avoid any movement which requires bending the toe or putting pressure or weight on it. Continue for the recommended healing time plus a week or two.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
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Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2207
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:39 am    Post subject: Re: So, I probably broke my big toe... Reply with quote

singularity6 wrote:
I went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment and a massage (I have great insurance!)

The guy seems pretty knowledgeable about the body, so I complained about my toe. He thought he'd give it a tug, and it caused quite a bit of pain. His thought is that I either broke it, or really damaged some ligaments. It doesn't hurt at all even when standing. Only when walking, or if I bend it too far.

Has anyone trained with a broken toe? I'll obviously be staying way from front and round kicks (maybe all kicks) for a while. Is this something I should let completely heal, or should I be okay with some careful training?

For what it's worth, I know this isn't medical advice... I'm simply looking for something anecdotal.


I recommend that you go see a Physician for scans and a diagnosis. As the Chiropractor can only do so much.

As with any health professional, they can only go so far with a physical palpation of the injured site. Especially with breaks, they have to have some imperical evidence (i.e. XRAY) prior to diagnosis.
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
singularity6 wrote:
I'm definitely taking it easy. I did a bit of a workout yesterday, with no ill effects (I made sure I didn't put weight on the toe when I did my push ups.) Kicking pads and mat-work will likely be avoided for a week or two... but I don't think the injury is nearly as bad ad I thought a couple days ago, as it seems to be healing nicely.


I'm glad to read you're probably not as hurt as you thought.

Out of interest though, how do you do pushups without putting pressure on your big toes? I'm interested because big toes are now next to useless, so I'm always looking for ways to train as normally as possible without them getting in the way.


My left foot is fine, and I probably shifted a little more weight to that side, and I tilted my right heel out, putting more weight on the smaller toes.
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