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Foot & AnkleInjuryRespect Series

RESPECT YOUR PINKY TOE

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Last week I saw two pinky toe fractures (attached to patients of course). I estimate that I see at least one broken or dislocated pinky toe a month, sometimes more. If I multiply that by 12, and then again by the 34 years I’ve been practicing, that’s over 400 pinky toe injuries. Then keep doing more math to see how many pinky toe injuries we might see in my group, or in the city of Austin…THE WORLD. It’s a lot! And I’m pretty sure 99% of these injuries are 100% preventable. Because most of the time my patients stub those helpless little appendages on a bed or a door frame which has been in the exact same place for many years…

If I ever break my own pinky toe, I will be very embarrassed to face my patients with broken pinky toes, because I occasionally tease them about how they sustained these very painful injuries. But on a serious note, I then tell them they must turn on lights at night. They must reach out to feel the end of their bed. They must be aware of the location of their bed and their door frames! It’s that simple! There’s no special brace or shoe. There’s no vitamin. There’s no exercise! Just remember where your toe and your bed are! And if you can’t do that in the dark, then turn on a light! It’s that easy to prevent an injury which hurts like hell, keeps you from wearing a regular shoe for a month, eliminates all forms of exercise for six weeks and is frankly just embarrassing to tell people about.