Soccer season is upon us and that means teams everywhere are hitting the pitch – some natural grass and others turf. Newsflash: turf toe can occur on either surface! That’s right, don’t let the name fool you! Although mostly associated with football played on a turf field, turf toe is a sports injury that can happen to any athlete who runs, jumps, or changes direction – you know, motions that occur in pretty much any sport.
The injury is typically caused by a sudden impact when the big toe is planted, but body weight continues to move forward, hyperextending the toe, and stretching the surrounding ligaments beyond their limits. It can also come on gradually, resulting from the repetitive motion of pushing off with your big toe. No matter how it happens, though, you’ll know by symptoms of pain, swelling, and limited ability to move the big toe.
Believe it or not, shoes, rather than surface, are typically to blame. As athletic footwear becomes more flexible and lighter weight, it tends to provide less support for the forefoot. It is vital that athletes wear the appropriate shoe for the sport and look for features that protect feet from injury.
In the meantime, P.R.I.C.E. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) will aid in recovery. Starting treatment early on will help healing move along quicker, so at the first signs of trouble, hit the showers! Taking the time off right away will shorten the time you’ll spend on the sideline. Anti-inflammatory medication can ease pain and swelling as well, and there are shoe inserts that can help with protection and prevention of recurring injury. Physical therapy exercises will help to restore mobility, flexibility, range of motion, and function. In severe cases, there are surgical procedures that can be performed to repair damage. An X-ray or MRI will be used to determine if this is necessary.
So, there you have it -- the truth about turf toe! The belief that it only happens to football players and only on turf fields is false, so athletes of all kinds, protect yourselves and seek help if you do incur this injury. You can reach either our Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX office at (512) 593-2949. Our team will help you get back in the game as soon as possible!