Those who play sports on artificial grass have an increased risk for a common injury—turf toe. Whether you want to learn what this injury is, how it is treated, or how you might prevent it, you have come to the right place.
Spraining Your Big Toe on Turf
Sports that involve a lot of pushing off to sprint, twists and turns to change direction, or players accidentally stomping on each other’s feet almost inevitably increase your chances of damaging your toes. We know that’s not going to stop people from playing football, field hockey, soccer, or other field sports, so maybe understanding how the injury occurs will give you some defense against it.
Turf toe is really a sprain of the joint between your big toe and your foot. You metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) is held together by a capsule of ligaments. When your toe gets stuck in place on the ground (which often happens with cleats on artificial grass), and your foot keeps bending forward, these ligaments can become overstretched or even tear.
Recognizing Turf Toe Symptoms
You will probably recognize this injury as soon as it happens. Pain is usually located underneath the joint, and you will feel it every time your toe is bent up toward your shin. It may be accompanied by swelling, causing stiffness and limited range of motion. You may also see bruising or feel warmth as the area becomes inflamed.
If the toe becomes numb or blue, get help right away. You may also want to seek treatment if the joint looks deformed or feels “crunchy” when moved. Sometimes the small sesamoid bones under it can become irritated or fractured. Any time you have unremitting pain, swelling that doesn’t subside, or the inability to walk normally, it is best to have your foot checked by a foot specialist to determine the exact cause of your issue.
What to Do for Turf Toe
There are many home remedies for less serious cases of this injury:
- Stay off your foot if you can’t walk without pain
- Use ice therapy for pain and swelling
- Elevate your foot to keep fluids from collecting
- Keep the toe as immobile as you can so ligaments can heal
We may advise you to wear a stiff-soled shoe that limits joint movement, or tape the toe to keep it in position. Serious cases may need surgery or a cast for a few weeks to heal. We can also recommend the right pain reliever for your situation, or use ultrasound, electrical stimulation, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or other technologies to relieve pain and speed up healing.
Once the pain is gone, we can set up a routine of physical therapy to help you regain strength and movement in the joint, stretch out your calf muscles, and maintain your cardio fitness. We take a look at your biomechanics after an injury, to see if you are compensating for any change in movement patterns, which might cause secondary problems.
Houston’s Foot Expert Is Here for You
Parker Foot & Ankle has decades of experience in dealing with all types of sports injuries, including turf toe. We can determine the seriousness of your sprain, and the best treatment for it, and we can also give you tips to prevent a repeat injury. Sound physical conditioning, flexibility, and strong muscles will reduce your risk, and we can help you get there.
Call our office on Memorial Drive in Houston, TX at (281) 497-2850 to schedule your appointment. You can also use our contact form to request one. Put your feet in the hands of an experienced and top-notch podiatrist and we’ll help terminate your pain from turf toe—or any other foot issue you face.