person kicking soccer ballBig toe injuries, known as turf toe, result from hyperextension of the big toe joint as the heel is raised off the ground. Named for the artificial turf football players play on, it can affect other sports players as well. Dancers, soccer players, basketball players, and gymnasts are all at risk for acquiring this injury.

How does it occur? When an external force is placed on the big toe, and the soft tissue structures that support the big toe on the top are torn or ruptured you end up with turf toe.

Symptoms of Turf Toe

Symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling, stiffness and instablity of the toe joint. There is often a sudden acute onset of pain during a push-off phase of running. Usually, the pain is not enough to keep the athlete from physical activities or finishing a game. This causes further injury to the big toe and can dramatically increase the healing time required.

Treatment of Turf Toe

Treatment includes rest, icing, compression, and equipment modification or change. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used for relief of minor pain as well as to decrease the inflammation of the injury. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.

Turf toe can lead to another condition called Hallux Rigidus or "stiff big toe".

Prevention of Turf Toe

To prevent turf toe from occuring or reoccuring, it's important to correct any problems with your gait. In addition, make sure you're wearing supportive shoes that were designed for the sport you play.  

If you've stubbed your toe while playing your favorite sport, call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City so that Dr. Rion Berg can evaluate and treat your condition. Call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.