Turf Toe

“I sprained my big toe joint!”

School is starting and with that comes the start of the football and soccer seasons.  This is when we, as podiatrists, begin to see many new types of injuries.  One of these injuries is “Turf Toe”.  Turf Toe is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint.  Over extending the great toe causes this injury to the ligaments.   It is most commonly seen in athletes playing on artificial surfaces.

Symptoms of turf toe include pain, swelling, and limited motion at the joint at the base of the big toe.  There are three grades for this injury from least problematic, to increased severity.  A Grade I injury is a sprain of the ligaments, athletes are typically able to return to play as tolerated.  Grade II injury is a partial rupture of the ligaments and the athlete typically needs upwards of 2 weeks to recover.  A Grade III injury is a complete rupture of the ligaments and requires up to 10 to 16 weeks to recover.

The initial treatment for treating turf toe is a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE therapy) as well as oral anti-inflammatories.  Taping may be beneficial to limit the motion of the joint.  At times, a rigid insert that minimizes the flexion of the joint is the most useful option.

It can take two to three weeks for the pain and inflammation along the joint improve.  The patients must be cautious as this injury can recur if not treated aggressively at first.  Long term use of inserts or other adjustments to their athletic wear is warranted.  If you sustain an injury this sports season, do not hesitate to call us at Worthington Foot & Ankle, we’d be happy to help!