By Theresa Adams ATC
A “Turf Toe” injury is a ligament sprain of the main joint of the great toe. It happens when the toe is forcibly bent up into hyperextension. For example, this can be when pushing off into a sprint and having the toe get stuck flat on the ground. Sprains of the big toe joint became especially prevalent in American football players after artificial turf became more common on playing fields – hence the term “turf toe.” Artificial turf is a harder surface than grass. It does not have much “give” when forces are placed on it. These injuries can vary in severity — from stretching of the soft tissue to partial tearing, and even total dislocation of the MTP joint. To help them plan treatment for turf toe, doctors grade the injuries from 1 to 3 – mild to severe.
The RICE protocol is recommended for this type of soft tissue injury: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Taping the big toe to the smaller toes will restrict motion. In addition, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help provide symptom relief. These more severe injuries are most often treated with immobilization for several weeks. The athlete may wear a walking boot or be put in a cast that keeps the big toe in a partially pointed down position.
Physical therapy may be helpful and people should start as soon as symptoms allow. Specific exercises will help to stretch and strengthen the big toe. Early joint movement is essential for reducing or preventing joint stiffness. Depending upon the severity of your injury, seek a doctor’s care immediately or if your symptoms persist. Before your appointment, try to identify exactly what happened when the injury occurred. This information can help your doctor to diagnose your injury and plan your treatment.
All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services. These are virtual visits from the convenience of your home. If you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on the your phone, tablet or laptop. Our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.
- To schedule a new patient or follow up patient appointment with your MD, please call (904)JOI-2000 or read more here about our orthopedic telemedicine providers.
- To schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call 904-858-7045 or call any of the 12 area JOI Rehab Centers.
JOI Fracture and Injury Care
JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.