Swollen toe - treatment with focused shockwave therapy (ESWT)

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Did it ever happen to you that you walked around your room, and you stumbled against the furniture? Or you didn’t notice the opened doors and you hit them with the space between your toes? Each of us likely knows how much can such a minor injury hurt. If you are unfortunate and you broke your toes during the injury, or damaged the joint capsules or small ligaments, your toe probably ended up likely swollen and blue. Stepping fully on the foot, transferring the weight and lifting the foot up from the ground is restricted and each step becomes painful.


If you want to get rid of the pain as soon as possible, you need to function at your work, take care of children or just attend a sport training, we recommend you to start with focused shock wave therapy, which will speed up the regeneration of the fractured or cracked bones, damaged ligaments and lowered painfulness of the tissues. It is ideal to combine the treatment with mechanical or manual lymphatic drainage, which will accelerate the flow of the lymph, which will lower or stop the formation of swellings. That leads to faster recovery, because the damaged tissue is well supplied with nutrients, oxygen and waste substances are moved out of the intracellular space.

Therapy is also combined with kinesio tape applied by lymphatic technique, in order for the outflow of the lymph to be stimulated even in the period between each application of the focused shockwave therapy. In other words, the treatment is continuing even when you are home or at work.

If the injury is so serious that it needs fixation of the bones, we recommend our clients to get removable firm orthosis, so that we could continue to apply focused shock wave and lymphatic drainage. Fixation in a cast or cast splint therapy unfortunately does not enable that.

From practical experience we know that the earlier we start with therapy, the faster the tissues will heal. It is therefore to start with the treatment in the day of the injury!


If you will go to a doctor, you will be prescribed to get an X-ray image in order to exclude/confirm the bone fracture. We recommend to go to ultrasound examination, which is not invasive (as opposed to X-ray). The ultrasound at the same time sees the fracture of the bone, but also the condition of the ligaments and joint capsules. The best image of the tissues can be seen on magnetic resonance (MRI), but people tend to wait longer for this imaging method than getting a treatment and recover. The MRI is also an expensive imaging method for health insurance companies, and doctors do not prescribe it normally.


If you decide to peaceful regime, it is alright, the organism has self-repairing mechanisms, with which it can heal itself. However if you decide for focused shockwave therapy, your foot will be healed much faster, than it would without any treatment or with conservative treatment.

Conservative treatment

After the doctor decides for the diagnosis distortion of the joint or bone fracture, he will recommend to rest at home with a positioning your foot so that it wouldn’t swell that much. Ideal is also application of cold compress on the affected area. You can be also prescribed with painkillers or ointments against pain and swellings. Alternatively the pharmacologist in drugstore will recommend you products which will absorb the hematoma.

It is therefore entirely up to you which way you want to get treated.

Author: Mgr. Iva Bílková, FYZIOklinika fyzioterapie Ltd, Prague, Czech republic
Source: Clinical experience from a private practice in physiotherapeutic field, FYZIOklinika

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