“Spraining” the Big Toe



Though you may not realize how important it is, your big toe is a crucial player in your ability to take a step. Injuring it can sharply limit your ability to walk. Turf toe is one condition that can interrupt your activities and make it painful to move around.

Spraining a Toe


Turf toe is a sprain in the big toe that occurs when it is forcefully bent past its normal range of motion. Some action or injury, like jamming it or repeatedly pushing off the ground for jumping or running, drives the toe backwards toward the top of the foot. This sprains the connective tissues around the first joint. This is a fairly common sports injury, since their activities put so much pressure on the forefoot. Artificial turf, which is popular for many sports, seems to increase your odds of developing the problem as well, contributing to the name “turf toe. “ The harder ground is not quite as forgiving to your feet as natural grass.

When the injury occurs, you typically feel it right away—though it can develop gradually from overuse. The cartilage protecting the joint, the stabilizing ligaments, and your sesamoid bones are all strained, though the damage can vary. A mild sprain involves over-stretching the tissues and you may experience swelling with your discomfort. A medium injury involves partial tearing of one or more of the connective tissues around the joint. The toe will be painful, bruised, swollen, and hard to move. Severe damage involves significant or complete tearing in the soft tissues around the joint and makes weight bearing by the big toe difficult or impossible.

Restoration and Recovery

Like other sprains, damaging the connectors that stabilize the big toe weaken the joint. You won’t be able to push off the ground efficiently. To restore your foot to full strength, you will need to have the damage treated by experienced specialists. Using cutting-edge diagnostic imaging to identify the damage, our experienced Country Foot Care doctors will formulate treatment plan for your injured toe.

Regardless of the severity of your injury, you will need to take a break from sports and rest the injured toe. If you continue playing sports, the injury and pain could worsen, causing permanent damage to the joint. For severe injuries, you may even need to have your toe immobilized in a boot or cast. Icing the foot immediately after the injury is sustained will help minimize the irritation and swelling around the affected joint. Using an elastic compression bandage and keeping your foot elevated may help reduce swelling and inflammation as well.

Oral anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed to help reduce pain and inflammation at the injury site. You may need physical therapy as you recover to restore your foot to full strength. If conservative methods are not enough to heal your lower limb, you may need surgery to repair the damaged soft tissues around your toe.

You don’t have to limp around with a turf toe injury. You can restore your foot to full strength and return to your sports without pain. Don’t wait until your condition becomes chronic and hard to manage. To make an appointment you can call our offices during regular hours or, for your convenience, you can make an online appointment by clicking on the MAKE AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of the page.