The Palm Beach County football teams are into the regular season now and fans in our community have the opportunity to catch some fantastic matchups and support our local youth. Naturally, we hope the players are able to stay safe in the games and at practice, but we know they are at risk for potential injuries, including turf toe. When turf toe strikes, it’s important to know what is entailed with rehabilitating a sprained toe.
Hearing the term “turf toe” can make a football fan cringe, but few seem to understand what actually happens with this injury. Essentially, it is a matter of a sprained big toe. This often happens when the front of a foot “sticks” to turf while the foot continues forward, thereby bending the big toe backwards beyond its intended range. The injury is common in football and soccer—sports that have flexible shoes with cleats that can grip the ground—but also for dancers and ballerinas, who also have flexible footwear.
Turf toe rehabilitation depends a bit on the severity of the injury. The condition has varying categories, ranging from a Grade 1 sprain (mild) to a Grade 3 (severe). Treatment for the injury, based on the specific grade will often look like this:
- Grade 1 – A mildly-sprained toe can often be successfully treated by following the RICE protocol, which is rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Grade 2 – A sprain that is more moderate in nature may require the use of a walking boot for about a week to keep the injured joint stable, in addition to the treatment methods for a Grade 1 sprain.
- Grade 3 – For a severely-sprained big toe, immobilization may be required for several weeks. A cast or walking boot may be used to keep the toe in the proper position. In time, the injury will be downgraded to Grade 2, and then ultimately Grade 1. While it is rare, surgery may be necessary when symptoms persist.
For best results when rehabilitating a sprained toe, be sure to come in to Palm Beach Podiatry and have the injury evaluated by our foot specialists. We can determine the extent of the injury and create an effective treatment plan, so use our online form to request your appointment or call (561) 734-3100 for our Boynton Beach office, (561)791-7773 for our Loxahatchee office, or (772) 468-0089 for our Fort Pierce office.