Turf Toe

Turf Toe is an injury to the first metatarsalphalangeal joint (big toe joint). They are more common now due to artificial sports playing surfaces. The name associated with this condition does not necessarily mean it is sports related, just that it is commonly occurring while on turf.

Symptoms usually occur during or right after a traumatic event which may include swelling, redness, pain, or malalignment of the big toe.

Causes of turf toe are usually some kind of hyperextension forces applied to the big toe joint. This occurs more often during athletic activities.

Prevention is best maintained with the most adequate shoewear for the appropriate activity.

Diagnosis is made by clinical suspicion and use of x-rays most frequently.

Podiatric Care may be varied depending on the extent of injury. Ice and splinting of the injury is usually one of the first lines of treatment. If a true dislocation occurs at this joint, a closed or open reduction may be needed for proper alignment. Other treatment may include anti-inflammatory oral medications or an injection of medication and local anesthetic to reduce this swelling in the area. Sometimes patients are sent to physical therapy for treatment and rehabilitation. It is possible this injury may need complete immobilization for over 6 weeks with no weight on the foot.

Surgery may be needed in case of a dislocation injury if closed reduction fails. Following surgery the joint is usually kept immobilized for an extended time followed by strengthening and range of motion exercises. Frequently this injury can become pain free with no limitations, although other times some degree of limitation may be permanent due to articular (joint) damage.