Turf Toe

What is turf toe and how is it treated?


What is Turf Toe?

Turf toe is essentially a hyperextension of the main joint of the big toe.  This results in the sprain of ligaments around the big toe. Soreness, pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of this toe sprain.

Why is it called turf toe? Since this injury most often occur among American football players on artificial grass, it has earned the term “turf toe.” Artificial surfaces tend to be harder. The shoes for this surface are designed to be soft and flexible to provide more agility.  This lack of support, however, results in less stability in the forefoot. Turf toe is common in football. A contact sport where another athlete falls on your foot during movement can cause this injury.

Treatment options for Turf Toe

In determining the best treatment for turf toe, physicians usually assign a grade 1, 2 or 3 to the injury.  The RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is typically initially recommended for turf toe. RICE, over-the-counter medications and joint immobilization orthotics or tape usually will heal a turf toe injury for grade 1 and 2 injuries.  Surgery is not usually necessary. However, it may be recommended for severe injuries.

Recovering from Turf Toe

The prognosis for recovery following turf toe is very good.  Injuries that are addressed early typically heal well.

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