Inspired by that rousing Super Bowl game last weekend? Want to get out on the field yourself and execute some of Tom Brady’s moves? Before you suit up and grab the pigskin, familiarize yourself with one of the most common injuries in sports: turf toe.
What causes turf toe?
Even amateur athletes can suffer from sports injuries like turf toe. The name comes from the fact that playing on artificial turf can accelerate the risk-factor for this injury (as well as for other knee, ankle, and foot injuries). Turf toe typically happens when you sprain your big toe by overextension, often occurring when the toe hits an unyielding surface and bends in an unnatural way.
Turf toe can be caused by repeatedly stressing your big toe through the same movements, such as jumping or running on a hard surface. It can also be an acute strain from a sudden movement or action. Acute turf toe typically causes immediate pain.
Three tiers of turf toe:
A mild injury, known as a first-degree sprain, involves the stretching of one or more ligaments. This level of injury comes with tenderness and mild swelling directly over the strained joint. You might also experience pain in the toe while walking.
A moderate injury, or second-degree sprain, involves ligament tearing. You’d feel elevated pain and swelling in the joint and flexing the toe during walking will be quite painful.
A third-degree sprain, the most severe turf toe injury, is a complete rupture of the ligament. These injuries are very painful and absolutely need to be seen by a podiatrist immediately.
Turf toe treatment
Treatment often includes the immediate regimen of protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation to reduce pain and swelling. A foot doctor also might recommend anti-inflammatory medications. For second or third-degree sprains, x-rays might be necessary to rule out bone injury or fractures.
Did you injure your toe while playing sports on artificial turf? Turf toe is an injury our podiatry team treats in all of our offices at Connecticut Foot Care Centers, LLC. Please contact us online for more information or to schedule an appointment at our Rocky Hill, Bristol, Middletown, Glastonbury, Kensington, or Newington, Connecticut locations.