Misaligned or X-ray . If the toe does not look straight, it is probably broken or joint dislocated. X-ray is the best way to evaluate the toe. It is popular belief that you cannot do anything for a broken toe. This is not true. If the toe fracture is misaligned or if there is a fracture into the joint or if the toe is dislocated, prompt treatment can sometimes avoid chronic problems and heal faster. Dr l.
Can be hard to tell. If a toe is swollen from trauma, one can try to move the joints of the toe. If the joints are movable in the normal directions, without crunching noises, without severe pain, then it is probably not broken. If the toe is crooked, has great pain when moved, or looks shorter than normal, it probably is broken. Many times it is hard to tell without an x-ray, so a doctor's evaluation may be needed.
X-rays . The easiest way to check this is with a series of x-rays of the affected toe.