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Dallas Podiatry Works

The Trials and Tribulations of Turf Toe

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Turf toe, toe damage. Turf toe gets its name because it happens a lot with sports played on turf such as football or soccer, but the injury can also occur to a dancer. It simply refers to an injury that involves damage to the soft tissue surrounding the big toe joint. This injury occurs as a result of excessive bending of the toe beyond its normal range of motion. It is a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe joints.

Your ability to walk and run depends on you being able to raise your heel, flex through the ball of the foot, push off of the big toe in order to shift your weight to the opposite foot and take another step. If an athlete’s foot gets jammed into the ground with considerable force and the big toe hyper extends backward, the injury occurs. It normally is a sudden injury, but it can occur over time.

Pain is sudden and intense, similar to a sprained ankle. The toe may then become more rigid, less flexible and develop arthritis. When the toe is more rigid, the likelihood of re-injury is greater. Turf toe has to be given sufficient time to heal. Failure to do so may result in chronic injury, and the player may never fully recover to pre-injury capabilities.

Causes of turf toe include:

  • Running, jumping and fast lateral movement on hard ground.
  • Not wearing the correct cleats for your sport.
  • Shoes with too much flexibility in the forefoot.


Turf toe is normally treated with:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  •  Anti-inflammatory medications


Allowing ample time to heal is critical, and sometimes it may be required to wear stiff soled footwear in order to prevent over flexing the joint. Some athletes may tape their toes or have a plate in their shoe that prevents hyper-flexion and the possibility of injury during their games.

The amount of pain may vary so it might not be your best indicator of whether you need treatment. Play it smart and seek treatment for any injury you suspect might be turf toe. This type of injury can worsen and cause a chronic problem. Call Dallas Podiatry Works for help. Drs. Brook , Northcutt, Arroyo and Baca are the sports injury experts you need. Call the Dallas office at (972) 566-7474 or Plano at (972) 943-3323 and put yourself in the hands of a specialist who can minimize your down time.


Category: Sports Injuries

Dr. Joel W. Brook
Dr. Joel Brook is a board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Dallas Podiatry Works in TX.

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