Can I surf with a broken toe?

Discussion in 'Global Surf Talk' started by zeech, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. zeech

    zeech Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Yesterday while surfing I landed in shallow water and jammed my toe into a rock. Kept surfing another hour, no problem. By the time I got home it was all purple and swelled, today it's worse. I'm pretty sure it's broken, but this is getting to prime surfing time and it doesn't really hurt to walk on it. So would I be a fool to try and surf? I'm pretty sure the doc is going to say no activity for 6 weeks but I think that might be unnecessary.
  2. JTS

    JTS Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    Which toe? I broke the second toe on my right foot (back foot) on the 3rd day of a trip to nica and just taped it to the middle toe and was good to go, surfed the rest of the week. Couldn't walk very well but didn't affect my surfing. Unless it is the big toe you should be good There is not much that can be done for it if it is stable and not displaced
    Tape it and see how it feels
    Good luck

  3. swabby

    swabby Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Pick up some waterproof bandage tape from the drug store and tape your toe to the adjacent toe - sort of to act as a splint for the broken toe. This will help limit movement of the toe but give you some strength so can put pressure on it. Not much they can do for a broken toe. Pick up some Aleeve for to reduce swelling and pain.
  4. zeech

    zeech Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Second toe also on my front foot. What type of tape, duct tape?
  5. zeech

    zeech Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Great idea thanks
  6. superbust

    superbust Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    Yup Swabby nailed it. Sometimes you can find those metal splints at Walgreens or CVS that fit either a toe or finger. Find one of those, do some taping, hit a bowl, chug some coffee and GO!
  7. Betty

    Betty Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2012
    I broke my finger a few months ago surfing. Doc splinted it and said "No surfing" (after asking if I got it rolling over in bed-- think I told that story here before, what a sexist and ageist jerk)-- anyway, I ignored his command. I found that Johnson and Johnson waterproof tape works well and better than Curad. -- you can likely do the same for your toe. I taped the heck out of the finger, wrapping the splint around it like a coffin with the tape. Then buddy wrap the fingers together except the thumb, like a catchers mitt. It lasts over two hours in the water and does great!

    You can do something that works on your toe like that. Mold a splint under and over the toe to the shape you want. Then tape the hecknout of it and buddy wrap it to your toes. Make sure you do it so the toe doesn't stick out and get snapped off if you hit something.
  8. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Yes. I broke my right big toe and the one next to it while surfing. surfed another hour. Was in discomfort for months, but surfed anyway on a daily. It definitely will push you to find a backhand wave as much as possible to keep off your toe side, but even a cut back will aggravate it.

    Months will go by with no pain, but this is almost 10 years ago and I still tweak it all the time. If I go running, or turn on it weird, it hurts for a couple days.... So, looking back, it was probably a poor choice to continue surfing with a broken toe, but it can be done with relative ease. It was an epic winter that year. You don't just sit out the rest of January because of a broken toe, or two.
  9. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Ohh and doc will tell you not to surf, just as he told me. This means nothing though. I felt like I was talking to Charlie Brown's mother. I just nodded my head and pretended that I was retaining any information being presented to me.
  10. huuor

    huuor Well-Known Member

    Mar 29, 2012
    Swabby - you sound like a doctor. You're not "the" Swabby are you? If you are, you'll know the answer to this question: what was the location of the rediscovery of "Schaefer"?
  11. Betty

    Betty Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2012
    Ha! When I went to the urgent care doc and said I would keep surfing, he said, "What is it with surfers? Is it that much fun?" and then he begged me to take him out to "try it" . Would've except he looked like a heart attack waiting to happen.
  12. Mr.Belmar

    Mr.Belmar Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    Hey yo- I would listen to zach... Let it heal up... Maybe surf here and there on easy days, but reoccurring injuries are the worse... There will be waves still in two months... And less crowds. I know it stinks to miss a swell, but there will always be more waves... You only got ten toes..
  13. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    zach what were the symptoms of your broken big toe? How swollen, how much pain and how much weight could you put on it while walking?

    I'm asking because I got hung up on the lip a few times in the heavier offshores today and got spun in the shallow. I feel like I do this every couple weeks and impact a few toes on the sand or board but this is exceptionally swollen and was enough to keep me out of the evening sesh when it was just quick closeout barrells.

    My pain tolerance is fairly high and I've spent my life playing through injuries but anything with the foot is easy to get in the way and annoying. Plus, we are coming up on heavy Carver season.

    NOTE: I mentioned it earlier in the post, but I'm talking about the big toe. Is that worth taping to smaller toes?
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  14. misfit27

    misfit27 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2013
    A lot of times, a sprain or a tear can hurt a lot more than a break. Swelling is gonna happen regardless, but is usually worst with a tear. Like someone said, taping it to the next toe (the bigger one) is probably the best treatment. Advil or Naproxin can help the swelling. Look up the recommended dose, OTC meds are always underestimated, but I don't want to give dosing information. It's pretty doubtful they'd give you anything more than a splint which would come off in a few days of regular activity. Someone mentioned real painkillers, which you're pretty unlikely to get with a broken toe (especially if you mention surfing). I've surfed and skated on worse, just take it easy and remember the toe will stick out a bit farther and it's gonna be agonizing if you catch it and land on it folded over. Good luck and remember, interesting people have interesting x-rays.
  15. zeech

    zeech Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Well I went to the urgent care today and the guy took an X-ray and said it's a pretty bad break. He said normally healing time is 6-8 weeks but in my case could be longer. :eek: He sent me on my way with some doxycycline and tramadol (good stuff) and told me to follow up with a podiatrist. Also he gave me a shoe cast to wear but it seems to do nothing but throw off my gait and likely to lead to other injuries. My main thing is to be back in the water for my birthday weekend mid-October.
  16. NJ glide

    NJ glide Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    Go down to the local wharf drink some rum then get a crusty fisherman to slice it off with a filet knife. Stitch the hole with some fishing line then jam some surf wax in the empty spot.
  17. EmassSpicoli

    EmassSpicoli Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2013
    Yeah, pretty standard by the book procedure.
  18. pkovo

    pkovo Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2010
    I would give it a week or two rest, then when ready, tape the toe in question a few times, then tape it to the big toe, then throw on a pair of thick booties and give it a whirl. Once the crack starts to join, the danger is banging or jolting it, since its a weak "bond" and then the healing process has to start over again. At least thats how my doc explained it to me when I told him I planned to surf after breaking my hand two winters ago.

    If you have hobbit feet, shave before taping.
  19. zeech

    zeech Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    The booty is a great idea for extra cushioning. I live in Florida so it will be quite comical however I do have one from my arctic surf days.
  20. DosXX

    DosXX Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2013
    We should call an emergency session of our distinguished team of doctors who make up the SI medical staff as soon as they return from their fishing trip:

    Honestly, get it X-rayed and properly taken care of. I've had a few broken bones and so have both of my sons.