Turf toe


Refers to an injury to the base of the big toe

It typically occurs in athletes who play field sports, such as football, baseball or soccer.

It is painful.

The injury is to the joint at the base of the big toe when an athlete jams the toe into the ground or bends the toe backward, beyond its normal limits.

It often occurs on a grass or artificial turf playing field.

Running, jumping and cutting movements on the unusually hard artificial field makes jamming or overextending a toe even more likely than on grass fields.

Using a stiff shoe with less flexibility in the forefoot preventd overextending the toe joint.

It is more common in individuals who play on artificial turf.

The extreme force that causes turf toe bruises the base of the big toe where the joint capsule and ligaments are stretched or torn.

In some cases, dislocation of the big toe can occur.

Turf toe result in pain, and over time the joint may become stiff, less flexible, and more prone to arthritis.

Limited mobility in the joint increases the likelihood of the big toe being injured in the future, as well as becoming a chronic injury that may limit an athlete’s ability to compete.

It is considered a soft tissue injury and is typically diagnosed based on symptoms, the sports history, and physical examination of the injured toe joint.

X-rays may be taken to rule out a toe fracture, arthritis or other trauma to the bones.

Treatment initially is to control the swelling and inflammation of the toe joint.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation along with NSAIDs are implemented.

It is necessary to take a break from field sports for at least three weeks while the joint capsule heals.

If there is a development of a bone spur, surgery may be warranted.

Turf toe often recurs and can reduce the long-term function of the big toe joint.

Arthritis of the toe is the major complication.

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