Turf toe is a sprain of the base of the big toe, where the big toe meets the foot. It is usually a hyperextension sprain of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. A sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support a toe. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. The injury is called turf toe because it often occurs in football and soccer players when playing on artificial turf.
Turf toe occurs when the big toe is forced to extend beyond its normal range of motion. This hyperextension can be caused by:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease, condition, or injury.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how you injured your toe. The doctor will examine your toe to assess the stability of the joint and the severity of the injury.
Tests may include:
The following drugs may help reduce inflammation and pain:
Surgery is only needed to repair turf toe if:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
British Columbia Association of Podiatrists
Disorders of the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Phys Sportsmed . 2000.
Managing injuries of the great toe. Phys Sportsmed . 1998.
Mullen JE. O'Malley MJ. Sprains—residual instability of subtalar, Lisfranc joints, and turf toe. Clinics in Sports Medicine . 2004; 23(1):97-121.
Pommering TL. Ankle and foot injuries in pediatric and adult athletes. Prim Care . 2005; 32(1): 133-61.
Sports Injuries: Basic Principles of Prevention and Care . Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1993.
Last reviewed November 2008 by John C. Keel, MD
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