The performers at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, FL know firsthand that dancers can have injuries similar to football players and other athletes. In fact, landing ballet leaps can cause a turf toe injury, the same as landing for a touchdown catch.
Artificial turf has increased the frequency of this sprain of the big toe, but it can happen anywhere. You only need to put a lot of pressure on your forefoot—with your toe locked in position on the surface. This makes it bend too far toward your shin, overstretching the ligaments of the joint where it meets your foot. The result is pain, swelling, and stiffness that limits your movement.
You need to dance around an injury like this, and not try to play through it. Much as you hate to hear it, you really should rest from activity completely for a day or two, and keep your foot elevated as much as possible. You can use a cloth-covered ice pack on the painful area to reduce swelling and chill the discomfort.
Once it has improved a bit and the swelling has gone down, we can show you the correct way to tape the toe to its neighbor. That will help relieve pressure on it and give the strained tissue a better chance to heal properly. If the injury is very serious, we may want you to wear a cast or walking boot to keep the joint immobile, and use crutches to keep all weight off for a few weeks. Torn ligaments may even call for surgical repair to make sure the joint heals properly.
Expect the pain to hang around for quite a while, until the ligaments are fully healed. During that time, stay off your toes, and use a shoe with a stiff sole in the forefoot to minimize movement in the joint. We may have you follow up with some physical therapy to recondition the joint and strengthen your foot muscles as well.
For any type of sports injury, including turf toe, find expert help at Palm Beach Podiatry at any of our Florida offices. Give us a call at (561) 791-7773 for our Loxahatchee, FL location; (561) 734-3100 for our Boynton Beach location; or (772) 468-0089 for our Fort Pierce location, or simply set up an appointment online and get yourself ready to dance again in no time!