Turf Toe: Symptoms, Prevention, and Degrees of Severity

Turf Toe: Symptoms, Prevention, and Degrees of Severity

Jan 26 , 2021

Erandika Mohanathasan

Tags - Turf Toe

Turf toe is a result of ligament sprain in the big toe joint due to a foot injury, which mostly happens during sports. To provide further context, this mainly occurs when the big toe joint is bent excessively. 

The said condition is named “Turf Toe” because this phenomena could be diagnosed more among the athletes who play on artificial Turf.

Therefore, it is mostly seen among athletes, dancers, and active sports members in gymnastics, football, American football, wrestling & basketball.

Put simply, playing sports on artificial turf is tough, as artificial turf is a harder surface than grass and less likely to absorb shock. Hence, the foot could stick to the hard surface and lead to big toe joint getting stuck. 

It has also been found that wearing inappropriate or inflexible shoes can result in Turf Toe. So, make sure that you pick and wear appropriate shoes for the activity that you are taking part in.

Symptoms and Prevention

Pain, swelling and restricted joint movement are few symptoms of turf toe. Turf toe is usually diagnosed using X-rays & MRI Scans. 

Here, wearing athletic shoes helps to prevent Turf Toe or even in the healing process, as it is preliminary designed for use on artificial surfaces while being flexible, soft and comfortable.

Note please: if the symptoms get severe, then the doctor would recommend surgery to repair the damaged tissues and restore the joints. 

And, if the Turf Toe is not treated on time, it could lead to foot stiffness which would restrict movement, form bunions and inadequate push-off strength.

Severity Classification

1. Grade 1

The tissue (plantar complex) gets stretched and causes slight inflammation and tenderness in certain parts.

Here, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation), wearing flexible shoes and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended treatments for stage 1.

As the pain is tolerable and could be controlled with pain relief medicines, athletes could continue the sports activities by wearing shoes with still-sole or a rigid forefoot component to produce stability and reduce stress. 

Grade 1 injury takes a few days to heal.

2. Grade 2

Tissue gets partially torn, which causes more swelling compared to grade 1, broader tenderness, bruising, pain and limited movement.

Along with Grade 1 treatments, use of a walking boot will be prescribed for treatment. 

Grade 2 injury takes a few weeks to recover.

3. Grade 3

Tissue gets torn completely which then causes severe pain, severe swelling and severe tenderness and bruising. The Movement becomes more limited. 

As more serious, treated with surgery, immobilization for a few weeks and put a cast with toe pointed down and followed with Grade 1 & 2 treatments and physiotherapy. 

Grade 3 injury takes a few months for full recovery.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

In the meantime, check our range of comfortable shoes.


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