Turf toe: What is it and Who gets it? Ask this Tampa Podiatrist!

Turf toe is a commonly acquired sports injury that is most often found in the big toe joint.  Athletes are usually the victim of this injury.  The condition was previously only associated with sports that were played on turf surfaces (hence the name) such as football, soccer, and baseball; however, the injury is becoming more apparent in other sports as well.  We have especially noticed more runners being evaluated in the office for turf toe due to the different running techniques such as minimalist and barefoot runners. 

Turf toe is when the big toe joint is planted quickly on a hard surface and hyper-extended on push-off.  This hyper-extension causes over-stretching of the soft tissue and jamming of the joint.  If not treated properly or ignored completely, over time the joint can become arthritic causing constant pain and swelling with activity. When athletes sustain an injury such as turf toe it is important to seek treatment in a quick manner.  Do not ignore the injury!  The quicker treatment is provided for turf toe, the better the outcome after the injury.  Immediately after sustaining the injury, RICE therapy should be performed (Rest and Ice the toe, apply Compression and Elevate to reduce swelling). Next, following up with a podiatrist is essential to prevent long-term damage to the joint.  Full evaluation of the big toe joint should be performed assessing whether any ligaments have been torn or if the capsule of soft tissue surrounding joint has been damaged.  Sometimes an MRI needs to be performed to evaluate the extensiveness of the injury.  Offloading and splinting just some of the treatments performed initially, but the most important part of recovering from the injury is prevention.  Custom orthotics and discussing optimal shoe gear can help stabilize the foot preventing increased pressure to the big toe joint, ultimately decreasing the risk of re-injury. If you have symptoms of turf toe or have sustained an injury to the big toe previously and did not seek medical attention, do not hesitate to call Advanced Podiatry for evaluation today.  We have the treatment available to keep you in your favorite sports without the pain or complications of turf toe.