What is Turf Toe?

Turf toe is known as a sprain of the main joint of the big toe, specifically the plantar capsule-ligament. This injury often occurs when the big toe is forcibly bent up into hyperextension.

Turf toe can occur during many sports such as, soccer, basketball, gymnastic – but is most commonly described in football. Athletes who play on an artificial field are more prone to this injury as the field is more rigid than a natural grass field.

Turf toe will commonly present with pain and swelling at the base of the big toe joint. The pain is typically aggravated by pushing off the toe, making walking and running difficult for athletes. In severe cases, there may be bruising around the joint and decreased range of motion.

Diagnosis of turf toe involves a physical examination and sometimes imaging studies such as X-rays or MRI to assess the severity of the injury and rule out fractures or other complications. Treatment usually begins with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to reduce pain and swelling. Immobilization with a splint or special shoe may be necessary to allow the ligament to heal properly. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and inflammation.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy are important components of recovery from turf toe. Once pain and swelling have subsided, exercises to strengthen the muscles around the toe and improve flexibility are prescribed to prevent recurrence and restore normal function.

Athletes returning to play after turf toe should use footwear that provides adequate support and stability for the big toe joint. Proper taping or bracing may also be recommended to prevent excessive movement and re-injury. Gradual return to sports activities is advised to ensure the toe has fully healed and to avoid exacerbating the condition.

Understanding the risk factors and mechanisms of turf toe can help athletes and coaches implement preventive measures, such as proper warm-up, conditioning, and footwear choices, to minimize the likelihood of this challenging injury.

Here at Precision Health we offer services such as chiropractic care and podiatry which can aid in your recovery from Turf Toe.

Call (02) 9639 7337 or visit our website to book an appointment now!


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