Turf Toe is particularly a big toe joint injury. The big toe joint, also known as the first metatarsal-phalangeal joint helps to turn upward while walking forward. In first metatarsal-phalangeal joint there are two small bones, sesamoids embedded in a tendon that is attached to the big toe. The sesamoids function as small pulleys, supports in toe motion. The sesamoid bones slide back and forth as the big toe go up and down. If the big toe joint moved beyond its normal range of motion, the ligaments surrounding the joint worn out. Worn out or stretched ligaments are known as a sprain.
Turf toe is the general term used to explain a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint. Although it is normally related with football players who play on artificial turf, it affects athletes and people related sports like basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, and dance. It’s a condition caused by congestion of the big toe or repetitively pushing off the big toe powerfully as in running and jumping.
Turf Toe results from acute or chronic hyperextension of the big toe. This condition influences both the joint and connective tissue resulting in painful inflammation and bruising. Most frequently the ligaments and tendons are stretched out, and in severe cases worn out. There is greater risk when one wears elastic footwear meant to grip the running surface or if one has greater than common range of motion in the ankle.
Home Treatment for Turf Toe
Turf toe should be taken serious because if it is not treated properly it results long term disability. So it is highly recommended to see a doctor if there is chance of turf toe or any other sprain of the toes.
Its symptoms can be categorized as Grade 1 in which patient feel mild sprain, localized pain, little swelling. Grade 2 bring tenderness, moderate swelling, bruising, and loss of motion, partial tear of the capsule and ligaments but no injury to the joint surface. In addition possible popping sound can be heard when the injury occurs. If its Grade3 injury then significant swelling, bruising, and loss of motion along with complete tear of the capsule and ligaments should be there.
Beside visiting doctor you must try home treatment first. Here in this article there are some suggestions for self treatment of turf toe.
Application of ice to affected parts of the toe and foot helps to alleviate pain and inflammation speeding up the healing process. Apply cold therapy for 10 minutes every evening.
Apply a compression bandage shortly after the injury. This will support and protect the toe as well as decrease swelling. The sooner a compression bandage is applied the earlier it will avoid swelling. But a compression bandage should only be applied for 10 minutes at a time otherwise it can restrict blood flow to tissues and cause additional damage.
Use a walking boot for the first two weeks after injury. A walking boot protects the joint throughout the first week to aid with proper healing.
Use an arch support to shift pressure off of the big toe joint. A good quality arch support that does not collapse does the best job.
It is not easy to rest the foot when you have to walk on it but without rest turf toe will take much longer to repair. Use a brace to guard the toe. A turf toe taping procedure will support and protect the toe preventing it from bending in the direction that will strain the toe ligament causing pain.
If pain in the joint at the base of the big toe comes and goes, lasting for approximately at a week at a time, with no noticeable reason then consult your physician or consider gout as a possible cause of the toe pain.
How to Avoid it
- You may not be able to completely protect yourself against turf toe, but the goal is not to jam the big toe into a hard surface.
- If possible, avoid playing or practicing on poorly maintained playing fields.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and have soles rigid enough to protect the joint at the base of the big toe.