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Turf Toe – How Common Is It?

It’s Patriots- um, I mean Super Bowl season again! To get in the mood for Super Bowl LII, we wanted to talk about one of those injuries that seems to be discussed every year with respect to football injuries: Turf Toe.

Though commonly found in football players, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and tennis players, as well as dancers and wrestlers are prone to this type of injury as well. Even missing a step while going down a flight of stairs can be a nasty culprit. That is because this injury happens when the foot is planted, but the heel is raised off the ground. This type of motion creates a major strain on the joint at the big toe called the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint, and the extent of damage can range from mild to severe enough to need surgery.

Patients often present to the clinic with complaints of swelling and bruising, and difficulty walking. It is always wise to get an x-ray after sustaining a foot injury as this will help determine the course of action. Most often a simple brace or period of immobilization followed by physical therapy is all a patient will need to get back to their regular level of activity. Be aware however, that if the damage was severe enough, surgical intervention may be the answer to reset the joint and the bones that sit underneath it.

Remember that pain is not normal. It is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. If you have sustained an injury that is creating pain at the big toe joint, and impacting your ability to walk normally, we encourage you to seek medical attention. Your doctor will order x-rays and determine which treatment option is right for you.