Turf toe is an appropriate name for an injury that often occurs on artificial turf in football stadiums. Sometimes when an athlete is pushing off the ground with his toes during sports like soccer, football, wrestling, basketball and gymnastics, the ligaments around the big toe are sprained. Dancers can similarly injure their feet when they repeatedly jam the big toe.
The sesamoids are two small bones behind the big toe joint that work with the tendon to move the toe and also bear the pressure on the ball of the foot. A hyperextension of the toe can sprain the ligaments around the joint.
If your big toe has any of these symptoms you may have turf toe:
- Limited joint movement at the base of the toe
This painful condition can strike suddenly or sometimes it worsens over time because of repetitive motion.
Diagnosing and Treating Turf Toe
Seek professional evaluation if you suspect you have turf toe. Dr. Stavros O. Alexopoulos can examine your foot and discuss your health history and sports participation with you. We will take x-rays in our office to check for a fracture and perhaps also order further tests like a CT scan, MRI or bone scan to rule out other injuries.
To treat a turf toe injury we begin with the basics: R.I.C.E.; rest, ice frequently, compress the area with an elastic bandage and elevate preferably above the heart.
Other treatments include:
- Over-the-counter medication to reduce inflammation and pain such as ibuprofen
- Immobilize the joint by taping the big toe to the second toe
- Further stabilize the area with a walking boot or cast with crutches
- Special shoe inserts to support and stabilize the big toe
- Surgery in more severe cases
It will take two to three weeks for the pain to diminish. Follow-up physical therapy can further loosen and strengthen the area.
Try to prevent turf toe before it hits by wearing sports footwear with better support to prevent excessive bending when pushing off.
We Can Help Relieve Turf Toe Pain
We frequently see turf toe cases in our Chicago office, especially during the fall sports season. If you have the symptoms of turf toe, make an appointment by calling us at 773-561-8100 or contacting us through our website. Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat this painful condition. Don’t suffer one more minute – call us today!