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Turf Toe Injury - A Common Problem In Many Sports

Posted Oct 04 2011 9:00am
Turf toe is a common injury we are encountering more often in our office.  When starting the practice, it was my opinion (and what I was taught) that Turf Toe was an injury from the great toe catching in the turf and not being allowed to move as normal.   This, therefore, only happened in football as the cleat caught in the turf.  Who else plays on turf anyway?

How Are You Injured?

First things first, turf toe is not only a problem with turf fields (although soccer and sometimes lacrosse are now playing on these fields also), and can happen in just about any sport.  If the great toe (hallux, big toe) is jammed up or down, the joint can be sprained creating a turf toe type injury.  This will cause the joint to swell and cause pain with any motion of the toe.  Often the pain is more exaggerated with dorsiflexion (toe moving up).  Consider it a sprain of the great toe area.

What Sports Are A Problem?

Although this injury can happen with any sport, we have seen the following to this point
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Ballet
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball

The key is a forced motion of the great toe in some sport specific activity...Like blocking in football, kicking the ball in soccer, landing from a vault in gymnastics, or many others. 

If you have such an injury, I recommend you be evaluated with an x-ray to ensure no fractures of the sesamoids, stress fractures of the joint or even true fractures of the toe that could be causing the pain.  This evaluation will also help you get the treatment you deserve .
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