When I broke my little toe, my doctor didn't do much for it other than tape it to the one next to it. When my cousin broke her little toe, she had surgery. Did my doctor under-react or did hers over-react?
As with many situations, every case is a bit different from another. While you both may have broken the same toe, it's possible that it wasn't the same type of break either by the actual type of fracture or where on the bone the fracture was.
Surgery is done to stabilize the bone, usually using screws or wires to hold the bone into place. If the break is clean, without any other tissue damage, and the doctor feels it will heal without surgery, then this will be the best approach.
John P. Furia, MD, et al. Shock Wave Therapy Compared with Intramedullary Screw Fixation for Nonunion of Proximal Fifth Metatarsal Metaphyseal-Diaphyseal Fractures. In The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. Feb. 2010. Vol. 92. No. 4. Pp. 846-854.
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