At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, one of the injuries we see more frequently at this time of the year is turf toe. Here’s what you need to know about this disorder.
What exactly is turf toe?
Turf toe is an injury to the joint of the big toe that happens when the toe is hyperextended upward, beyond its normal range of motion.
How does this occur?
This can happen over time by doing a repetitive sport activity that requires pushing off on the big toe when running or jumping or it can happen all at once due to a sudden injury or trauma, such as your toe jamming into the field while your body continues moving forward. In fact, this occurs more frequently when playing on artificial turf and hence the name, turf toe.
What sports are more likely to cause turf toe?
Football players most often suffer from turf toe but it also not uncommon to see it in patients who participate in soccer, lacrosse, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and even dance.
How does the foot doctor know if you have turf toe?
The symptoms of turf toe are pain in the big toe joint accompanied by swelling and decreased movement in the joint. The symptoms may come on suddenly (as in the case of a traumatic injury) or gradually worsen over time (if due to overuse). Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will take a complete medical history and then examine your toe and foot. Digital x-rays (which can be done right in our Somers Point office) or other imaging tests may be ordered to make sure the toe is not broken.
How is turf toe treated?
The foot doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the pain and inflammation of turf toe. Rest from activities that put strain on the big toe is what’s needed to allow turf toe to heal. The podiatrist will most likely recommend that you follow the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, elevation. In very bad cases of turf toe that don’t heal with this treatment, surgery may be needed. The foot doctor may also recommend more rigid footwear to prevent the toe from being hyperextended in the future.
If you have additional questions about turf toe or are currently experiencing pain in this area, don’t wait: make an appointment at our Somers Point office by calling: (609) 927-4894.