After an impromptu football game at a family barbecue you notice that your big toe is a little sore. By the next day, the pain is intense. There is quite a bit of swelling at the base of the toe and it is difficult to bend it. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may be suffering from a condition we see regularly at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists known as turf toe.
Turf toe is actually a sprain of the big toe joint and it occurs as a result of hyperextension of the big toe. This can happen gradually over time if you participate in an activity that requires repetitive pushing off with your toe. Football, soccer, wrestling and gymnastics are the sports with the highest risk for this condition. Turf toe can also be the result of an acute injury, such as one really big push. Turf toe gets its name from the fact that on artificial turf surfaces your feet (and toes) are more likely to stick or jam on the turf when coming to a sudden stop.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, will need to examine your toe and also obtain a complete medical history. The foot doctor will most likely also order x-rays to be sure that you do not have a fracture. Other imaging studies that allow the foot doctor to more clearly view soft tissue may also be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Initially, the foot doctor will probably recommend that you follow the RICE regimen: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain. Modifications to footwear may help prevent a recurrence of turf toe.
If your big toe is causing you pain, make an appointment at either our Reading office. Continuing normal activity with turf toe will result in the condition worsening and possibly more invasive treatment to correct it.