Turf toe is an injury to the first toe joint of the foot. It is a soft tissue injury to the tissues around the big toe joint. Anyone can get turf toe. If you apply a force that causes the big toe to extend beyond its normal range of motion, the soft tissues can be injured and turf toe can ensue.
When you sprain the ligaments around the big toe joint, the result is turf toe. The ligaments allow the toe to move up and down at the joint. If they become sprained, there is pain each time the toe moves. Turf toe is commonly associated with football players playing on artificial turf, however anyone can develop this injury if the force through the big toe joint is abnormal, causing a hyper-extension of the toe.
Usually the injury and force is a sudden force to the big toe joint, hence more common in athletes. Not only does it occur on artificial turf, but can occur on grass surfaces if the shoe is too flexible and does not have enough support for the foot. This can allow the foot and big toe joint to bend to far, stressing the ligaments.
Turf toe symptoms include pain at the base of the big toe. Swelling may occur. Moving the toe becomes painful and decreased range of motion follow.
To diagnose the injury, examination of the foot will be done. X-rays, ultrasound, and other imaging tests may be needed.
Treating turf toe begins with resting the injured area and restricting motion of the joint. Physical therapy may be needed after the injury heals, to re-gain motion and strength of the injured toe. Sometimes, orthotics are needed to be worn so the foot will be better supported and functioning better.
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