Turf Toe: Not Just a Football Injury
Turf toe is a colorful term often used to describe an injury that involves spraining the ligaments around the big toe joint. Turf toe can be very painful and prevent you from performing your best as an athlete or it may even cause enough discomfort to take you off your feet completely. Often associated with football, a turf toe injury can happen anytime, anywhere, and in any sport.
Turf toe is a sprain to the ligaments around the big toe joint. These ligaments work primarily as a hinge to permit up and down motion of the big toe. Behind the big toe joint are two small bones embedded in the tendon that moves your big toe. These bones work like a pulley for the tendon and provide leverage when you walk or run. These bones also absorb the pressure from the ball of the foot. When you are walking or running you push off the ground with your big toe and ball of your foot. If for some reason the big toe stays flat on the ground then you run the risk of causing a turf toe injury. Ultimately, it is the hyperextension of the big toe joint from this position that will cause the ligaments in this area to become sprained. Symptoms include: pain, swelling, and limited joint movement. These symptoms may become progressively worse if the toe is not treated.
Here at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we may diagnose turf toe by doing a health history exam asking questions about the moment you noticed pain, what activities you are involved in, What your occupation is, what type of shoes you wear most often, etc. A physical exam will likely come next which may be followed by x-ray and MRI depending on the doctors findings. The diagnosis will then be made based on the results of the physical examination and imaging tests.
The initial treatment for turf toe is a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This basic treatment approach is to give the injury ample time to heal, which means the foot will need to be rested and the joint protected from further injury. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may be recommended to reduce inflammation. The joint will need to be immobilized next. This may be done by taping, casting, or wearing a special boot. You may also be asked to use crutches so that no weight is placed on the injured joint. In severe cases surgery may be suggested.
It typically takes two to three weeks for the pain to subside. After the immobilization of the joint ends, some patients require physical therapy in order to re-establish range of motion, strength, and conditioning of the injured toe. Full recovery time depends on the person and how severe the injury is. Several weeks beyond the pain subsiding could be possible.
With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help you with your turf toe and get you back to your regular activity. If you suspect you have turf toe or are feeling pain in your foot or ankle of any kind please give us a call to set an appointment as soon as possible at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the information above was found at www.WebMD.com