Turf toe refers to a foot injury in which your big toe bends beyond its limit. Turf toe got its name because athletes who play on artificial turf have the highest risk of developing it. It is also referred to as hyperextension. When this injury happens, it leads to a sprain on one of the joints of your big toe, the metatarsophalangeal joint, and its surrounding structures.
Turf toe happens when you push on your big toe forcefully. It often occurs when you begin to jump, push your weight off your feet to run, or put repeated stress on your toes on hard surfaces.
This condition is most commonly experienced by basketball and football players, gymnasts, and dancers as they often use movements involving a lot of flexing of their toes on hard surfaces.
Turf toe injuries have three grades. Grade 1 refers to overstretching of the joint’s structures. A grade 2 turf toe will have a partial tear, while a grade 3 turf toe involves a complete tear. Most cases do not require surgical treatment and can successfully be treated through conservative methods.
Primary Causes Of Turf Toe
The primary causes of this condition include:
- Wearing high heels all the time
- Engaging in sports that involve frequent changing of direction and kicking off with the toes
- Walking in a way that places excessive pressure on the toes
- Wearing inappropriate footwear when playing sports
Symptoms Of Turf Toe
The most common symptoms of turf toe include swelling, pain, and limited joint movement in the big toe’s base. If the injury occurrs from a forceful, cutting motion, you may immediately experience these symptoms. However, if it’s a result of an injury that developed over time, these symptoms may not show up in an instant. Instead, they will develop slowly and worsen as time passes.
Areas Affected By Turf Toe
The metatarsophalangeal joint is surrounded by the following structures, which may be affected by the condition:
- Collateral ligaments. These are bands of tissue that connect your toe bones together and keep your big toe from bending too much to the sides.
- These are two small bones that help absorb the pressure of your weight.
- Flexor hallucis brevis. This area refers to the tendon under the big toe that assists you when you put weight on the front part of your foot when jumping, jogging, or running.
- Plantar plate. This structure prevents the big toe from bending too far up.
Turf Toe Treatments
The R.I.C.E. method is an essential part of treatment for turf toe. This acronym refers to rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and this approach is commonly applied to grade 1 turf toe injuries. It is the most appropriate method because it gives the joint time to heal on its own. You may also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate pain symptoms.
Grades 2 and 3 injuries, on the other hand, require immobilization of the toe until it gradually steps down to a grade 1 injury. Grade 3 injuries can take several weeks to heal, while grade 2 injuries can take several days to two weeks. Your podiatrist will determine the grade of your injury through an examination and imaging tests.
Turf Toe Treatment in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, Texas
If you are looking for top-notch medical care for your turf toe injury, the staff at The Podiatry Group of South Texas is happy to help. We offer the most advanced and customized treatments that won’t just give you comfort and relaxation, but will also lead to a quick and effective recovery.