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Life is hard and toes are fragile, which means that by the time you reach our age, you’ve probably broken one. Or two. I recently broke a toe when I got out of bed in the middle of the night and tripped over a shoe. When friends and family consoled me with their own Toe Break Tales, I learned that there are more ways to break a toe than you could possibly imagine. Intrigued, I turned to my Facebook friends. “Have you ever broken a toe?” I asked. “Tell me how it happened.”  Here’s a sampling of their responses.     


Are You Active?  Watch Your Toes! 

I broke my pinky toe sliding into third base. 

I broke my toe playing Frisbee outside with friends barefoot. Was alcohol involved? Maybe. 

I used to exercise by dancing around my house. I twirled too close to a stone table. Ouch. 


Athletes Break Their Toes. But Intellectuals Do, Too. 

I broke my toe when I tripped over my two=volume slipcase edition of The Riverside Shakespeare. 

Running barefoot down a basement hallway at a writers’ workshop, I broke my right big toe when I caught it in the bottom of my trouser leg.  

I broke my toe in a car crash on the way to the library. 


Gravity Is Your Toe’s Natural Enemy

I dropped a can of Progresso minestrone soup on my big toe. 

I opened the freezer door and a 10-pound roast fell out onto my foot. 

A jar of Salsa fell on my toe from the top of a cabinet. 

I dropped a terra cotta pot on my baby toe. Yesterday.   

I removed my suitcase from an airplane’s overhead rack and dropped it on my little toe. 


For Some People, Broken Toes Are a Way Of Life:

I’ve broken the little toe on my right foot so many times I’ve lost count. 

I’m barefoot on a boat for most of the summer and am always breaking or stubbing toes. 

I’ve broken the same baby toe three times!  

I seem to have found my Superpower—hooking my toe on a piece of furniture while momentum works its magic, keeping the rest of my body moving forward. I’ve done this many times.  


There’s No Good Time To Break a Toe . . . But Some Times Are Worse Than Others

The morning of my son’s First Communion, I dropped a pizza stone on my foot. 

I dropped a large flashlight on my big toe as I was getting ready to go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. 

I smashed my toe into a laundry basket three weeks before running a half marathon. 


A Toe Break Can Contain a Valuable Life Lesson

I was carrying a large basket of dirty clothes and tripped over the small bathroom garbage can I’d forgotten I’d put at the top of the stairs in the hope that someone else would carry it down. Lesson learned? Do it yourself!  

I was about to carry a basket of laundry down the stairs in my stocking feet when my husband said, “Put your slippers on, you’re going to slip.” I ignored him, slipped, and broke both my big toe and my pinky. Next time, maybe I’ll listen.     


Your House Is Out to Get You!

I fell down a flight of steps and broke my big toe. 

I caught my pinky toe on the edge of a door. 

I rammed my toe into the metal leg of a radiator.  

I slammed my foot into a wooden stair riser. 


And Watch Out for the Furniture! 

I broke my toe on a glass coffee table.

I stubbed my toe on a bedpost.  

I stubbed it on the dining room table of a vacation rental. 

I broke the same baby toe on the same dining room chair chasing different toddlers in different years.


Things Left on the Floor May Be Hazardous to Your Toes   

During our last move, there was a pile of packing paper on the kitchen floor. I ran into it and broke my pinky toe.  (Who breaks their toe on PAPER?) 

I caught my little toe on a toy my grandson left on the hallway floor.   


Follow Your Bliss—and Break Your Toe! 

I broke my toe on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. 

I broke my toe when I went outside, barefoot, to admire the stars and stubbed it on a rock. 

I broke my middle toe in the dang pool. (I told my husband I was going to start wearing combat boots, even in the pool.) 


Horses and Toes Don’t Mix

I broke my toe horseback riding when I was 12.

Two different horses, ten years apart, stepped on my pinky toe and broke it. 


Your Toe Can Break When You Least Expect It

I broke my big toe coming down from a headstand. 

My mother-in-law broke 3 toes putting her shoes on. 

I broke my toe at chapel when it got caught in a folding chair. 

My baby toe broke when my husband dropped his crutches on it. 


The Worst Toe Breaks of All? The Ones with Added Angst 

I tripped over a concrete barrier and broke my toe on the way into the pharmacy to pick up drugs to treat a yeast infection. Insult to injury, for sure. 

I broke my toe when I stubbed it on a chair as I rushed to answer the phone.  It was an obscene phone call.   


And Keep in Mind That Karma Is a Bitch

My friend kicked her husband and broke her toe. 


The Only Way to Avoid a Broken Toe?

Stay home. In bed. With your shoes on. Which is no way to live.  So go out and embrace life! You’ll probably break a toe. But it will heal.  

And remember this: A broken toe is no fun. But it beats having a broken heart. 


Join the conversation

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  • paige January 23, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    I broke my toe chasing my dog

  • Kinlee Bulman May 29, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I broke the toe right beside my big toe when i stubbed it on a metal leg of a Coke table.

  • April May 5, 2017 at 12:05 am

    I just broke my little toe on left foot again yesterday by walking into my 3year old’s wooden school bus (ironically I had just taken off my slippers to put on shoes to leave the house for tests at the hospital). I wear the slippers nonstop at home to protect myself from this very thing – I quit counting after the eighth time the toe was broken. All I have to do is bump against something & it’s a goner. Almost always I can put it back in place myself with a squeeze & I can go about my day but this time it wouldn’t & it still hurts like heck. I am a nurse & never sit down At work- will probably have to call off tomorrow.

  • Dawn January 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I broke my wee toe last night while walking into the kitchen
    I stubbed it on the door stopper(it’s made of wood and stone)
    Its the second time I’ve broken it

  • john nile July 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    ive never broken a toe and never will.

  • Anita La petite mort June 27, 2016 at 12:38 am

    *found this article

  • Anita La petite mort June 27, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I doubt this article and comments because I suffered ANOTHER broken pinkie toe! Ugggghh! It’s always the same accident! Walking barefoot with confidence in my home and bam hooked on some object ie: chair, folding table, clothes valet, oh and one time swimming away from my son some how broke my toe on my son!
    I’m wondering how many time you can break a toe before it stops cooperating and healing before it just won’t and flops around like a lifeless appendage.? Ohhhh my poor little black n blue piggy!

  • Jenny June 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I slipped on the staircase yesterday, and somehow, my big toe smashed onto one of the stairs. That really hurt after hearing a small pop sound 😐

  • megan January 4, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I think my toe is broken!!!!

  • Anna Mcnally December 31, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I once broke my toe while walking.

  • Ana July 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I broke my toe on the couch in our family’s living room it hurt my mom didn’t believe me but when we went to the ER they took pictures and it was broke

  • Kelly Choate September 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    and i think i just broke my second third and fourth toe (all except my big toe and pinkie toe) on my right foot because i was scooting in my chair that i was and am sitting in, in my room its a medal one too and it landed on my toe with me sitting in the chair so then i got up to get my boot in my closet that i had to wear when i broke my toe in 5th grade and i stubbed the same three toes on the same foot on the leg of my bed 🙁 it hurts so bad!!!!

  • Kelly Choate September 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    i broke my left big toe jumping off of a play structure that was about as tall as an average house, in 5th grade in august 2012 i was 11 and thank god i didn’t have to miss my birthday (December 14 2000) all of my friends were doing it but yet i’m the only one that got hurt! i was on crutches for 2 whole months and i missed Halloween too! lesson learned: don’t jump off of anything taller than you. and now i’m afraid playgrounds….. wont go near them. and yes i’m 13 and in 8th grade 😀

  • Kelly August 23, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Ugh all those sound so painful! Never broken a toe but could add a few stories for broken noses!

  • Roz Warren August 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Dancing in the living room is more dangerous than you’d think.

  • WendysHat August 19, 2014 at 1:21 am

    What a great title! I have not experienced this {knock on wood} but my daughter did while dancing in the living room! I guess toes are fragile!

  • Mary Lanzavecchia August 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Having dutifully read the entirely of toe dangers listed above, I concluded I should remove all furniture from my home, pad the corners with dense foam, and eliminated any canned food.

    Might I suggest snow boots for year-round wear? 😉

  • Ines Roe August 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I guess it turns out everyone has a toe story! I broke mine when a pound of frozen hamburger meat jumped out of the freezer. I am sure all these stories weren’t funny at the time……

  • Helene Cohen Bludman August 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Who knew there were so many ways to break a toe? I’ve been lucky, I guess — no broken toes — but I did break a bone in my foot last year!

  • Diane August 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Fours toes squashed beyond recognition by the crushing foot of a 2000 pound bull. Just as we were about to go into the show ring. Sigh.

  • Emily Kelting August 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Love this compendium of broken toes! I broke my big toe on Christmas Eve (also my son’s birthday) when a cast iron Christmas stocking hanger on the mantelpiece fell from on high. No angels singing, just me cursing…

  • Mister Wonderful August 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    This is wonderful!

  • Carol Cassara August 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Ok, this is the thing about our age group. We trip and fall more than ever before. I am TERRIFIED of falling, which is why I save my power walking for the gym and tend to be slower outside, where I’ve already tripped a few times and managed to save myself from premature death on the sidewalk.

  • Ruth Curran August 18, 2014 at 11:14 am

    I am laughing so hard! I have can’t even count how many times I’ve broken my toe. I was playing with my son’s dog and kicked a soft dog toy…and followed through right into the wall….

  • Tam Warner Minton August 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I’m scared to comment since I have not broken a toe (to my knowledge) and I am superstitious so if I say I haven’t broken a toe, I might break one. It all sounds terrible to me!

  • Karen August 18, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I’m an habitual toe-breaker–you could almost call me a serial toe-abuser. My poor right pinky toe usually bears the brunt, and it usually involves walking into solid objects at full force. Sadly, I relate all too well to this post.

  • Laura Ehlers August 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for the warnings! I once stepped out of my house and broke my foot. Stepping out of the house. I stepped out. My foot broke. Seriously.

  • Kim Tackett August 18, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I’m almost afraid to comment here…I’ve never broken a toe, but I am sure one is in my future. Thanks for letting me know I will have plenty of company.

  • Lois Alter Mark August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I’ve broken my toe by walking into a couch and my Newfoundland broke my toe when she stepped on it with all 130 pounds of her. Apparently, I’m in very good company!

  • Suzanne Fluhr August 18, 2014 at 12:47 am

    And, of course, to add insult to injury, there’s not a lot they can do for a broken toe except splint it to the next toe—or so I was told when I stubbed my toe every summer at camp because I insisted on wearing flip flops no matter what the terrain.

  • Carol Graham August 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Yup — broke the same one twice – big toe, right foot. I finally lost the nail a few months ago. I don’t plan to do it again:) Thanks for the tips

  • hillsmom August 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Well it seems “Our Roz” is getting better, so she can’t kick…

    (Couldn’t resist ;*)

  • Mickey August 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I dropped a full bottle of club soda on my big toe, cried piteously for five minutes, no sympathy from either my roommate or my son, and no, none at all from my supervisor at work. Thank you, Roz.