Fixing Turf Toe and Getting off Injured Reserve

Nothing is more frustrating for an active individual—from the amateur runner all the way up to the professional athlete—than time spent on the IR, or injured reserve. That’s why so many of us push through minor aches and pain, or even some major ones, even when we know we shouldn’t.

Turf toe is a good example of an injury where you really shouldn’t press your luck. While most mild cases resolve within a week or two, continuing to run, jump, or play with a sprain of your big toe often leads to more pain, more swelling, and ultimately a much longer recovery time. It’s far better to go on the proverbial IR and get the treatment you need right away—in the long run, you’ll miss less time, and be fully ready to return.

Unless the joint sprain is severe, most cases of turf toe are best addressed through conservative management techniques. Your body will heal itself—you just need to give it the space and protection it needs to do its work. Low-grade sprains, in fact, may merely require a little bit of RICE treatment at home—stop playing, stay off your feet as much as possible for a few weeks, and use ice, compression, and/or elevation as needed to manage pain and swelling.

If the injury is more severe, causing significant discomfort even after a few days, you’ll definitely want to get it checked out. Our office can provide extra measures to protect your healing toe, plus there may be other problem spots (such as bone chips or damage to cartilage) that need to be addressed.

Restricting toe motion via shoe inserts or the “buddy taping” method may be recommended in some cases, while others may call for complete immobilization using a cast or special walking boot. Such measures are usually only necessary for a week or so, but they go a long way toward giving your joint the security and stability it needs to patch itself without risking further damage. Afterward, some physical therapy may be helpful to regain some of that missing strength and flexibility.

We know how tough it is to willingly take yourself off the field, but we promise our specialized care will give you the best chance at freedom from pain, a quick recovery, and a full return to the activities you love. Let Dr. McSpadden help get you off IR and back in the game. To schedule an appointment in Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX, please use our online contact form or call 512-593-2949.

Posted on March 22, 2016 and filed under Sports Injury.