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Carson Robertson
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Turf Toe

Turf toe is a sports term for a sprain injury of the big toe.  The bottom capsule of the big toe joint is sprained when the toe is pulled into hyperextension (dorsiflexion).  This tends to happen with specific trauma that pulls the toe into dorsiflexion, such as getting tackled in football, trips, or falls.  Soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse have higher rates of injury.

A similar condition is found in sports played on the sand when the toe is forced into plantar flexion and the top of the capsule is sprained.  Here the toes are rolled under during the injury. This is called sand toe.


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Symptoms of Turf Toe

Pain, tenderness, and swelling at the big toe are the most common symptoms.  It usually hurts to push off the  big toe during running.  Bending and stretching the toe will cause pain and tenderness in the joint.  The severity and intensity of pain will vary depending on the severity of injury.

Home Treatments of Turf Toe

Rest and ice are important home therapies.  Turf toe has a tendency for prolonged healing times and can easily be reaggravated.  Removing physical stress to the area will help prevent prolonged recovery.  Many people have a tendency to think they can run through the pain, which only causes greater injury.

Office Treatments

Your provider will work to decrease the pain and inflammation through physiotherapy.  Orthotics are utilized for some individuals, as shoe modifications will be recommended.  Taping the big toe to provide greater support can be helpful.  Some cases may require NSAIDS.  Surgical consultations are required in severe cases.

A sprain of your big toe will take considerable time to heal.  Rest and conservative treatments are important and avoiding activities that cause aggravation will result in the quickest resolution to your injury.

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