TURF TOE SYNDROME


WHAT IS TURF TOE?

Turf toe can occur after a very vigorous upward bending of the big toe. It got it's name due to the fact that it occurs frequently in people who play games on artificial surfaces. The shoe grips hard on the surface and sticks causing body-weight to go forward and so bending the toe up. It is also common in martial arts. You are more at risk if you have increased range of motion in the ankle and or wear soft flexible shoes.
When the toe is bent upwards this causes damage to the ligaments which can become stretched. In addition the surfaces of the bones at the joint can become damaged. You should really have an X-ray to check if a bone has not been broken.

SYMPTOMS OF TURF TOE INCLUDE:

  • Swelling and pain at the joint of the big toe and metatarsal bone in the foot.
  • Pain and tenderness on bending the toe or pulling (stretching) it upwards


WHAT CAN THE ATHLETE DO TO PREVENT TURF TOE?

  • Ice the injury immediately.
  • Apply a compression bandage.
  • See a sports injury professional for advice.
  • Rest, which might include crutches to take the weight off the toe.
  • Use a brace to protect the toe - or at the very least wear a shoe that has a firm sole that will not allow bending.


WHAT CAN A SPORTS INJURY PROFESSIONAL DO?

  • X-ray to check for a fracture.
  • NSAID's (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Walking Boot
  • Custom Foot Orthoses
  • Immobilize in plaster cast for 3 weeks
  • Surgery - especially if the tendon is completely ruptured as it is a very important tendon for supporting the arch of the foot
  • Tape the toe to prevent movement.
  • Advise on a rehabilitation and strengthening program.
  • Recovery of this injury can take three to four weeks depending on how bad the sprain is. If the athlete does not look after this injury then it may develop into Hallux Limitus! This is a decreased range of motion due to arthritis around the joint.