Turf toe is the common term used to describe a ligament sprain around the big toe joint. It is a painful condition that frequently occurs in sports (the term originates from football players who practice on artificial turf). Our Springfield, VA, podiatrist explains more below.
Turf toe is a sprain of the ligament joints surrounding the big toe, which facilitates up and down motions. Behind the big toe joint, there are two small, round bones (called sesamoids) in the tendon that move your big toe and function as a pulley for the tendon. Damage caused by turf toe impairs the tendon’s ability to absorb weight from the ball of the foot and limits leverage when running or walking.
Turf toe is caused by jamming the big toe or repeatedly pushing off the big toe with force (such as running or jumping). The condition mainly affects athletes who play soccer, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and dance. The symptoms include:
This condition’s symptoms will worsen over time without treatment or if you continue to play sports without healing the ligament first.
At-home treatments include RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For mild cases, these approaches will usually resolve the pain and swelling while the ligament heals. In moderate cases, you may need crutches or a walking boot while the injury heals.
In the most severe cases, surgery may be needed to fix broken bones in the foot, a torn ligament, or joint damage. While surgery is a last resort, sometimes it is necessary to get the best outcome and get back on your feet!
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other podiatry-related topics, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center by clicking here or by calling 301-232-3764.