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Palm Beach Podiatry

Turf Toe: Funny Name—Serious Injury

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Turf toe is a common injury in field sports such as football.Baseball had a good run as “America’s game,” but many are quick to note that football has pretty much taken that crown. Here in southeastern Florida, we have lots of Miami Dolphins fans who are excited about our NFL team’s prospects this season. The signing of Ndamukong Suh was huge, and Ryan Tannehill should continue to show why the team selected him with the 8th overall pick in 2012. The key to a successful football season, though, is making sure the players stay healthy, especially avoiding aggravating injuries like turf toe.

This injury with a funny name is essentially a sprained big toe. This happens when the toe is excessively bent upward and ligaments in the main joint are damaged. It can take place when you are pushing off the ground while sprinting, or if the toe “sticks” while the rest of the foot moves forward. The name is derived from the frequent occurrence of toes becoming stuck to turf during athletic competition or practice.

As is the case with many sprains and injuries, there are various degrees of severity for turf toe. This particular injury is categorized in grades:

  • Grade 1 – There is slight swelling and pin-point tenderness caused by stretching of the plantar complex.
  • Grade 2 – The swelling is moderate, the tenderness is more widespread, and bruising is evident on account of partial tearing in the plantar complex. Moving the big toe is painful in this grade.
  • Grade 3 – Due to complete tearing, there is severe swelling, bruising and tenderness. Movement is difficult and very painful.

First aid for this injury should begin with RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). If the injury is a Grade 1, this will likely be sufficient to heal the injury. For greater damage, we can assess the particular situation and then provide a treatment plan to help restore the affected toe back to health.

Contact Palm Beach Podiatry today for more information or to schedule an appointment. Call our Boynton Beach office at (561) 734-3100; our Loxahatchee office at (561) 791-7773; or our Fort Pierce office at (772) 468-0089. You can also use our online form to reach us.

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