Turf toe is a slang term for a hyperextension injury to the metatarsophalangeal joint of the hallux, or the ball of the foot on the great toe. It is a fairly common injury in football, but it can occur in other sports, such as basketball and soccer.
Mechanism of injury for a turf toe
An athlete commonly suffers the injury when he absorbs an axial load to the back of his ankle when the ankle is plantarflexed (pointing toward the ground) with the toes dorsiflexed or extended (pointing toward the head). An example of this mechanism is a running back or an offensive lineman pushing off when another player falls onto the back of his ankle. The force to the back of the ankle with the great toe extended injures the capsule and ligaments underneath the metatarsophalangeal joint. The severity of the injury can range from a sprain of this soft tissue to a partial or complete rupture of the capsule, ligaments, and other tissue supporting this joint.
Treatment options for turf toe
Treatment involves taking pressure off the joint, avoiding offending activities (including sports), and ice. Sports medicine physicians or foot and ankle specialists will usually place the athlete in a walking boot or even a cast. Taping or putting a rigid insert into the athlete’s shoe can help to limit the amount of bending at this joint when he goes back to the sport. For severe cases of turf toe, where the capsule and ligaments on the bottom of this joint have been disrupted, especially in high-level athletes, surgical repair is occasionally attempted.
Foot stress fracture: Which stress fractures are the most serious?
Foot pain: Common causes in runners and joggers
Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.