Turf Toe: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Turf Toe is a disorder in which the ligaments around big toe joint or first MTP joint are sprained. This occurs after extremely forceful upward bending of the big toe.

Symptoms of Turf Toe

  • Pain and swelling at the base of big toe joint.
  • Limited toe movement.
  • Pain upon toe flexion.
  • Pain upon stretching the toe upwards.

Causes of 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.
  • This condition 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 this condition.

Diagnosis of Turf Toe

  • 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.
  • An MRI helps in confirming the diagnosis.

Treatment options for Turf Toe

  • R.I.C.E. technique should be applied.
  • 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.
  • The toe should be taped to restrict its movement.
  • Severe cases may require surgery.
  • After healing is complete, patient can start gradual weight bearing and enrol in a rehabilitation program.
  • Recovery depends on the severity of the sprain. If it is ignored or left untreated, then there may be development of hallux limitus or rigidus.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 19, 2019

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