Healthy Living

What is Turf Toe?

What is Turf Toe?

Key Takeaways

  • Turf toe refers to the painful injury to the big toe.

Turf toe refers to the painful injury to the big toe, and is very common in athletes in field sports, such as  football, baseball, and soccer. This injury is common in activities that occur on grass or artificial turf. It can affect any other person who is involved in activities that extend the toe beyond its usual range of motion. The injury affects the soft tissue around the joint of the big toe.

Causes of turf toe

Turf toe is caused by injury or sprain to the ligaments around the joint of the big toe. This injury is usually sudden when movements like running, jumping or cutting over extends or jams the toe. Some experts feel that wearing inappropriate footwear and sports shoes may result in the condition. This is very common in athletes who wear flexible shoes that let the foot bend too far than normal.

Symptoms of turf toe

The most common symptom of turf toe is the pain at the base of the big toe that starts immediately after the injury. Swelling in the joint is seen in some cases. The injury may limit the movement of the toe joint.

Diagnosis of turf toe

Physical examination of the injured joint is the best way to diagnose the condition. Doctors may assess the athlete’s symptoms and sports history. Doctors may examine the pattern and location or swelling and compare the same with uninjured foot to confirm the injury. X-rays may be recommended to rule out the chances of toe fracture, arthritis, and other injuries that may affect the bones.

Treatment of turf toe

The best treatment for turf toe is to give ample rest to the injured foot so that it can heal on its own. Pain and inflammation can be reduced by over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen. Doctors may strap the injured toe to the adjacent one so that stress is relieved. Patients are recommended to use crutches sometimes to avoid extra weight falling on the injured toe.

The pain reduces within two to three weeks. Physical therapy may be used to re-establish movements, strength and to condition the injured toe.

Prevention of turf toe

Using foot wear that provide better support is the best way to prevent injury to the toes. Specially designed inserts can also be used on advice of the doctor.