Turf toe is a sprain of the joint just below the big toe, also known as the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Although it’s a condition most commonly associated with dancers, soccer players, wrestlers, gymnasts and football players, you don’t have to be an athlete to get it.
This foot injury is particularly common among athletes who play on artificial turf, hence the name “turf” toe. When athletes play sports on turf or other hard surfaces, the foot can stick to the ground, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint. Typically with turf toe the injury is sudden, but it can also occur after sustaining multiple injuries, such as pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping.
Symptoms of turf toe range from mild to severe, and may gradually worsen with continued movement. The most common symptoms of turf toe include:
- Swelling and pain at the joint of the big toe
- Pain and tenderness when bending the toe
- Stiffness and limited movement of the big toe joint
If your symptoms are indicative of turf toe, then you may be able to relieve the pain and swelling with the following self-treatment.
- Ice the injury
- Apply a compression bandage
- Rest and temporarily discontinue any physical activity
- Wear a brace to protect the toe and to limit bending
For more severe cases of turf toe, visit Family Foot and Ankle Centers for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. A Fairfax podiatrist can easily diagnose turf toe through an evaluation that includes range of motion and joint stability tests.
Professional treatment may include exercises to strengthen the toe, modified footwear or splinting. With proper treatment you can eliminate pain resulting from turf toe and regain your full range of motion in order to return to your favorite sport or activity.