Turf toe: symptoms and treatments
The condition “turf toe” derives from the introduction of artificial turf in American football, and the subsequent foot injuries related to the turf. Turf toe occurs when the ligaments near the big toe joint are sprained. These ligaments become sprained after the toe has been forcibly hyperextended while the body's momentum lunges forward.
Turf toe isn't just limited to artificial turf and can be acquired by anyone participating in sports or running exercises. The symptoms of turf toe can either be immediate or gradual, and often inhibit the ability to comfortably walk. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of turf toe, reach out to our experts at Kansas City Foot Specialists.
The symptoms of turf toe
Individuals suffering from turf toe experience a wide variety of different symptoms, and depending on the severity, can take on many forms of pain. The most common symptom experienced are:
- Bruising or swelling of the big toe
- Pain and tenderness in the ball of the foot
- Pain and tenderness in the surrounding area of the big toe
- Stiffness and limited movement near the big toe
- Inability to apply pressure onto foot
These symptoms can appear immediately after the injury has occurred, or they can gradually worsen through repetitive movement of the affected area.
How is turf toe treated?
The treatment of turf toe is contingent on the severity of the injury. Many instances of turf toe are cured through noninvasive procedures, however, if the area has been hyperextended passed a certain threshold then surgery will be necessary. The most common forms of treatment include:
- Resting the foot. All sports and running-related activities will cease and many cases require avoiding weight to be placed on the foot.
- Elevation. The blood flows faster to your feet when they're below your heart, it is advised to elevate them when sleeping and lying to reduce the amount of swelling that occurs.
- Ice regimens. Apply ice to the affected area in increments of 20 minutes, five times per day.
- Compression. Wear bandages wrapped around the toe and foot to compress the area to prevent further swelling.
If your condition is severe enough to entirely immobilize you, surgery may be necessary for treatment. The surgery will aim to repair any torn soft tissue and broken bones.
How to prevent turf toe
You can prevent future instances of turf toe by wearing shoes with the appropriate supports. The supports act as an aid to your foot's natural flexion, allowing your foot to bend freely without bearing all of the weight. Regular exercise and proper foot stretching regimens can also decrease your susceptibility to turf toe, but they can't entirely prevent it. Putting your body in strenuous physical situations without prior conditioning and stretching may significantly increase the risk of developing turf toe.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of turf toe, Kansas City Foot Specialists can help. We can diagnose your symptoms, and prescribe appropriate physical therapy and surgery to combat your turf toe. Contact us to set up an appointment so that we can work toward relieving your pain.