Have you ever heard of turf toe? Despite the name, it’s not just an injury that affects football players. In fact, participants in soccer, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and dance are all at risk.
Turf toe is a sprain of the big toe joint that typically happens during sports activities. It’s caused by excessive upward bending of the big toe joint, which can happen from jamming the toe or repeatedly pushing off when running or jumping. The injury is common on artificial turf, where the foot can stick to the hard surface and result in jamming of the big toe joint. Wearing less-supportive, flexible shoes on artificial turf can also contribute to the risk of turf toe.
Symptoms of turf toe include pain, swelling, and limited joint movement. If the condition is caused by repetitive actions that cause injury, the symptoms will usually begin slowly and can gradually worsen. If direct injury is the cause, the symptoms may begin suddenly and get worse over a 24-hour period.
If you suspect you have turf toe, it’s important to seek medical attention. A foot and ankle surgeon will examine your foot and may order X-rays to rule out any broken bones. Other advanced imaging studies may also be helpful for proper diagnosis.
Treatment for turf toe usually begins with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), as well as changing to less-flexible footwear. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used for relief of minor pain and to decrease inflammation. Dr Gilbert Huang DPM can help determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.
Severe cases of turf toe with prolonged pain may require operative treatment. It’s important not to ignore the symptoms of turf toe and to seek prompt medical attention to ensure proper healing and prevent long-term complications. By taking care of your foot health and avoiding excessive stress to the big toe joint, you can reduce your risk of experiencing this painful injury.