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Turf Toe

What Is Turf Toe?   

Turf toe is a sprain of the big toe joint resulting from injury during sports. The injury usually results from excessive upward bending of the big toe joint (hyperextension). The condition can be caused from either jamming the big toe or from repetitive injury when pushing off while running or jumping. Although this injury is most commonly reported in football players, participants in many other sports can experience this injury.

Causes

The name “turf toe” comes from the fact that this injury is especially common among athletes who play on artificial turf. When playing on artificial turf, the foot can stick to the hard surface, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint. Natural grass has a softer and more forgiving surface.  Also to blame are flexible shoes worn on artificial turf.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of turf toe can include pain, swelling, and limited joint movement.

If turf toe is caused by repetitive actions that cause injury, the signs and symptoms will usually begin slowly and can gradually worsen with time. Turf toe can also be caused by a direct injury leading to damage of the bone beneath the cartilage. If direct injury is the cause, the signs and symptoms may begin suddenly and get worse over a 24-36 hour period.

Diagnosis

To arrive at a diagnosis, the doctor will obtain your medical history and examine your foot. X-rays are typically ordered to rule out any broken bones. Other advanced imaging such as MRI, Fluoroscopy, or Sonography (Ultrasound) studies may also be helpful for proper diagnosis.

Treatment 

Initial treatments include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), as well as a change to less-flexible footwear. A stiff-sole shoe or walking boot (cam walker) are commonly used.  Operative treatment is reserved for individuals with severe cases of ligament rupture or dislocation and prolonged pain. 


If you are suffering from symptoms similar to turf toe, do not hesitate to call us (949) 833-3406 or request an appointment online.  Our doctors are well-versed in this condition and can develop an effective treatment course to get you back in action as soon as possible.