Our beloved Seahawks seem to be a little off their game lately, what with two recent losses. ESPN just announced that we’ll be without four starters on Sunday against St. Louis, a handicap I’m sure Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are both concerned about. Although shoulder and knee injuries are common in football, so are foot and ankle injuries. Two out of the four players are plagued lower extremity problems. Zach Miller recently had minor ankle surgery and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner has a case of turf toe.

Turf toe? What’s that?

Turf toe occurs when players jam their toe or repeatedly push off during running and jumping. This results in sprained ligaments around the big toe joint. The term was originally coined with sports played on artificial turf; the harder artificial surface makes cleats more likely to stick. However, turf toe can just as easily occur on grass surfaces, particularly when the shoe worn does not provide sufficient support.

Common symptoms of turf toe are pain, swelling, and limited joint movement. With repetitive injuries, symptoms begin slowly and get worse over time. With a sudden force injury pain is usually immediate and gets worse over the next 24 hours.

Football players aren’t the only athletes at risk for turf toe. Soccers players with flat feet are particularly at risk for this condition. Basketball players, wrestlers, and dancers can also encounter this nasty toe problem.

Rest, icing, elevation, and taping to compress the toe and reduced movement are all immediate actions you can take on your own. For a more thorough diagnosis, as your Seattle podiatrist I recommend that you come in to see me so that I can assess the extent of the injury and whether further attention is needed. To prevent this condition from reoccurring, avoid playing on artificial turf and if you have flat feet you will need to be assessed to determine if this foot type is exacerbating your risk of injury.

To make an appointment at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

Photo source: Associated Press

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