When a big toe is jammed over and over again on a hard surface, it can cause an injury called turf toe. We see this mostly with athletes who play on artificial turf and repeatedly stop and start suddenly, such as with soccer and football.
Symptoms Of Turf Toe
This sprain of the joint where the big toe meets the foot can cause pain at the base of the big toe, which may be accompanied by swelling or stiffness. If left untreated, it will get worse. It can also lead to instability, dislocation, arthritis and loss of cartilage.
If you suspect that you might have turf toe, we will do a thorough examination and will probably take X-rays to make sure there aren't any other problems that might be causing the pain.
Many Athlete's Try To Ignore Turf Toe At First
While it's understandable that most athletes don't want to be sidelined, the primary means of treating turf toe is rest. It takes at least three weeks for turf toe to heal, so we direct patients to take time off from their sport and avoid activity on that foot. This rest might also be coupled with applying ice, taking anti-inflammatory medications and elevating the foot. We will also recommend special inserts that can decrease motion of the big toe joint to help you avoid future injury.
Patients that don't heed this advice risk further injury and an even longer recovery time, so it's better to take a few weeks now than have to miss an entire season.