Hello soccer fans! I’m sure you’ll have your nose close to your TV tonight as you watch the FIFA World Cup 2014 opening ceremony. The whole world will be watching as Brazil faces off against Croatia at the Itaquera stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Although knee injuries are certainly common and have plagued several top ranked world cup players, these soccer players are also at risk for foot injuries, particularly those involving the toes. My job as your Seattle podiatrist is to make sure that if you or your young soccer player sustains a toe injury that we can get you healed and back to playing as soon as possible.

One of the more common injuries in soccer and regular American football is a condition call turf toe. Turf toe is a sprain of the big toe joint that occurs when the toe jams into something or when players push off frequently during running or jumping. Players in the world cup will be most at risk for this injury because they’ll be playing on artificial turf which is where the term “turf toe” got its name.

Signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited joint movement. When turf toe is caused by repetitive action, symptoms begin slowly and get worse over time. When a direct injury causes damage to the bone then symptoms can accelerate within 24 hours. Soccers players with flat feet are also at greater risk for developing this condition. Rest, icing, elevation, and taping to compress the toe and reduce movement are all immediate actions you can take on your own.

For complete diagnosis, patients will need an X-ray to determine how bad the injury is 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.

If you or a loved one has sustained this type of injury, you can contact the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or reach us at www.bergdpm.com.

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