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Pain below big toe after stepping on a rock

by April
(South Dakota)

Four days ago I was outside wearing flimsy flip flops, while walking to my shed I stepped on a big rock right below my big toe. It was tender but not unbearable, I managed to go shopping that night and noticed that my big toe was hurting but shook it off because I thought the sandal strap between my toes was bothering me. Well the next morning when I woke up I could not bear weight on my foot without alot of pain just below and to the side of my big toe. I rested with my foot elevated and iced it for two days and when I had to walk I could only do so by using my heel and side of my foot. Yesterday I tried to put on a shoe to see if I could walk that way and it was ok but almost unbearable to put on the shoe! Its like I cannot flex my foot upward without pain. There was some minimal bruising around the base of my toe and very little swelling. Today I thought it was getting better and I tried to walk flat footed and it was bearable until I got off of my foot, then it began to throb. Is it possible I broke something? I wonder how long I should wait before I go get it checked out?


Hi April,

The only way you will know for certain if you broke a bone will be by having an x-ray, otherwise you are just guessing.
Based on your history my first guess would be that you aggravated the tendon on the bottom of the toe that allows the toe to bend downwards. The second possibility is that you just bruised the bone.
My concern is that both of these scenarios should not be as painful as they seem to be to you.
I would give the problem a few days, if it is not getting appreciably better then see a foot specialist in your area, have an x-ray and get a definitive diagnosis as to what is actually causing you so much pain.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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Aug 25, 2011
On The Mend
by: April

Thank you for the reply. I have been following the RICE method and it has helped tremendously! Today I was able to put on my shoe with minimal tenderness and I was able to walk around. It still a bit tender but not unbearable. Perhaps it was just a pull or bruise. Either way it's healing now and I am glad!

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