Turf Toe: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery Period
Turf Toe is a disorder in which the ligaments around big toe joint or first MTP joint are sprained. Turf toe occurs after extremely forceful upward bending of the big toe.
What are the Symptoms of Turf Toe?
Some of the General Symptoms of Turf Toe Includes:
- One of the symptoms of Turf Toe is pain and swelling at the base of big toe joint.
- Limited toe movement as a result of sustaining a Turf Toe Injury.
- Pain upon toe flexion.
- Pain upon stretching the toe upwards.
- Severity of the Symptoms of Turf Toe Depends on the Severity of the Injury -
- Turf Toe Severity of Grade I – Grade I Turf Toe is caused by mild to moderate injuries resulting in superficial scratch of the ligament, with some mild swelling and bruising.
- Turf Toe Severity of Grade II - Intermediate injury caused by partial tear or deep laceration of ligament and moderate swelling and pain.
- Turf Toe Severity of Grade III - Severe injury of the ligament results in complete tear of the ligament with significant swelling and bruising.
What Can Cause Turf Toe?
Forcible bending or flexing of the toe upwards causes damage to the ligaments and results in a turf toe. It is common in athletes. Turf toe is caused when shoe is rigidly planted on the floor causing the bodyweight to shift forward and the toes to bend upward resulting in ligament damage beneath the toe. Individuals who have more range of motion of ankle and who wear flexible and soft shoes are at higher risk for developing turf toe. An x-ray is taken to rule out a fracture.
How is the Diagnosis of Turf Toe Made?
- Bending or flexing the toe backwards causes pain in the joint as it puts strain on the ligaments.
- The affected area is tender to touch.
- The movement and pain upon palpation of the affected toe should be compared to the healthy toe.
- An MRI helps in confirming the diagnosis.
What are the Treatment Options for Turf Toe?
- Rest is very important to recover from turf toe.
- R.I.C.E. technique should be applied for turf toe injury.
- A compression bandage is also helpful.
- Crutches can be used to avoid weight bearing on the toe.
- A brace can be worn for protection of toe.
- Shoes with a firm sole should be worn to prevent further bending of the toe.
- NSAIDs or other analgesics such as ibuprofen help in pain relief from turf toe.
- Patient should seek consultation from a sports injury physician or podiatrist.
- X-ray should be taken for ruling out a fracture.
- Ultrasound treatment has shown to be beneficial.
- The toe should be taped to restrict its movement.
- Severe cases may require surgery.
Turf Toe: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Recovery Period or Healing Time for Turf Toe
Recovery period of turf toe injury depends on the severity of the sprain. If it is ignored or left untreated, then there may be development of hallux limitus or rigidus.
Recovery Period of Grade 1 Severity of Turf Toe
Prognosis is excellent following conservative treatment and controlling pain with analgesics. The inflammation and pain responds well with non steroidal analgesics. Complete recovery period for Grade 1 Turf Toe is between 1 to 2 weeks.
Recovery Period of Grade 2 Severity of Turf Toe
The prognosis is satisfactory and recovery may take between 2-4 weeks depending on the extent of ligamental tear. Partial ligamental tear often heals slow depending on blood flow to the injured ligaments.
Recovery Period of Grade 3 Severity of Turf Toe
The recovery time for Grade 3 Ankle Sprain may last over 4 to 8 weeks. The time required for healing of fractured ligament depends on type of ligamental injury. Complete ligamental tear with minimum separations heal within 4 to 8 weeks. Complete separation of ligament take long time to heal. Healing period could be as long as 12 weeks or longer for Grade 3 Turf Toe.
After healing is complete, patient can start gradual weight bearing and enroll in a rehabilitation program.
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