• Turf Toe

  • How does Turf Toe happen?

  • Symptoms of Turf Toe:

  • Causes of Turf Toe:

  • Diagnosing Turf Toe:

  • Treatment of Turf Toe:

  • Preventions to avoid Turf Toe:

Turf Toe

Turf Toe is a less commonly discussed topic with the football coaches especially when you are going to make your debut. The Turf Toe is a common issue which appears as a sprain in the ligaments present around the joint of big toes. The most common victims of Turf Toe disorder are the people who play football on the artificial turf. However, other sportsmen may also face this disorder. These sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Wrestling
  • Dance
  • Gymnastic

How does Turf Toe happen?

It is a condition in which the big toe jams or pushed off repeatedly. It usually happens during jumping and running while playing a game. You can find more details about causes, prevention tips and treatments in this article.

Symptoms of Turf Toe:

There are several symptoms of it. However, the most frequent symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Restricted joint movement.

All these symptoms appear in the big toe. Develop these symptoms could be gradual. These may develop further complications if the actual cause of Turf Toe was repeated motion or repetitive injury. Patients will feel severe pain immediately after getting ng injury. This condition gets worse within 24 hours. Patients may also feel a “pop” when they gan et injury. The toe movement becomes limited as the injury damage es entire joint.

Read More: Sports Injury? What to do? When?

Turf Toe Injury

Causes of Turf Toe:

Around your big toe joint, the Turf Toe establishes sprains in ligaments. This initially acts as a hinge to allow up and down movement. Also, there are two bones (pea-shaped) behind the ball the of the foot (big toe joint). These pea-shaped bones are embedded in special tendons moving the sesamoids (big toe). These bones are essential for movement as these provide leverage to the tendons while walking or running. These bones are also important to absorb weight or stress pressing the ball the of a foot.

During a walk or run, we put pressure the on-ball the of the foot when taking step forward using the subsequent steps (involving heel movement). This allows us to let body weight come directly on the balls the of the foot. At a certain moment, we shift the weight the of the body on the next foot by pushing off the big toe. There is a high risk of getting the injury on the foot if it denies pushing off or stays flat on the floor while continuing the procedure. The effect of this injury would be similar if the foot gets shocked during a sudden fall. This creates a hyperextension the of the toe. This condition may lead to sprains in ligament around the joints if it continues with the force and stress.

In most cases, the Turf Toe injury is considered sudden. The injury is more frequent among the people who play football on an artificial surface. The artificial surface is harder than the original grassy surface and it promotes sticking of cleats. However, the cases also happen even if the surface is original (grass surface). This usually happens if sportsmen don’t wear shoes or use a shoe which provides no support to the foot. Bending the foot too much (forward) because of soccer-style shoes is another cause of Turf Toe in athletes.

Read More: Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury – Causes, Systems, and Treatment

Small Ice Pack

Diagnosing Turf Toe:

The doctors usually like to get information about the event or moment of injury, how you get this injury, and may also discuss the sports, participation, competition, types of sports shoes, history of foot injuries and rarely about your occupation. After getting the necessary information, the doctor will perform a physical examination to see the foot condition, swelling pattern and location, and comparison of the injured foot with a healthy one. The doctor may also take MRI or X-rays to identify any other medical complication (tear, fracture or inflammation). CT scan and bone scan also commonly used in diagnosing process. Diagnosis is made on the basis of results obtained from imaging tests and physical examinations.

Treatment of Turf Toe:

Basically, it is treated with multiple approaches. The most common approach used by the doctors is R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). This treatment provides flexibility and comfort during the healing process. It is considered a basic but temporary treatment approach which is necessary before the permanent treatments. In most cases, this approach heals the Turf Toe injury within a few weeks.

Use of painkillers and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is also common. Doctors prescribe these medicines in order to control the pain. These drugs are helpful to bring temporary relief against swelling and pain. However, it is important to control swelling and pain order to continue with other treatments. Resting the foot is very important. This enables the joints and ligaments to get back original shape. The doctors usually use straps to keep the foot immobile for a few days. This is helpful to get positive outcomes in a short period.

Specialized braces and walking boots are also used for the treatment. Crutches also used to provide stability to foot. These crutches are good to absorb pressure coming directly on the ball of the foot. Surgical interventions are rarely used if the injury is severe. The Turf Toe treatments take 2 to 3 weeks to remove pain. Physical therapy is the next step after removing the straps (that keep the foot immobile for weeks). This enables the patients to move their foot joints to maintain range of motion and strength. This technique also acts as conditioning of injured joints of the toe.

Read More: When to Use Coldest Ice Pack on an Injury or Pain?

Avoid Injury

Prevention to avoid Turf Toe:

The main goal for the doctors and physicians during treatment should be to identify how this injury happened and what to do to avoid in future. Following steps are helpful to prevent Turf Toe.

  • Use flexible but fit shoes to get enough foot support.
  • Surgical inserts for foot support (only prescribed products).
  • Physical therapy after ending each game. Contact with sports medicine experts to get a correction in your gait and body posture.
  • Focus on improved game-play techniques and training sessions to avoid the risk of Turf Toe in future.