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Hey Athletes: Take Care of Turf Toe

By Dr. Paul C. LaFata
September 25, 2014
Category: Sports Injuries
Tags: Sports Injuries   Turf Toe  

Turf toe is a common football injuryStaying active and having fun in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, is easier than you might think. Centers like the Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex provide fun, healthy activity for all ages—particularly through their sports leagues, like their adult flag football or youth basketball teams. If you’re playing a sport on an artificial surface, though, you have to pay extra attention to your feet. Injuries like turf toe are painful and need the right treatment to recover.

Turf toe is more serious than many people realize. It’s a sprain in the supporting ligaments of the big toe. This occurs when the toe is suddenly bent back farther than its normal range of motion. Since your big toe is crucial for pushing off the ground to walk, run, or jump, a sprained big toe sharply limits your mobility. Failing to treat a sprain can lead to long-term weakness in the foot.

To prevent that, you need to recognize the injury and care for your turf toe right away. Generally the pain develops immediately when the problem occurs. You may or may not feel a “pop” when the toe bends back. The joint at the base of your big toe will swell and become difficult to move. You may or may not have bruising, too, depending on the seriousness of the damage. Most likely you’ll experience pain when you put weight on the ball of the foot that will worsen if you try to push off the ground.

The RICE technique—rest, ice, compress, elevate—can help with first aid so you can start recovering right away.  Avoid putting weight on the affected foot for the first few hours after the injury if you can. Wear a stiff-soled shoe or splint to avoid bending the big toe, too. Ice the toe and keep your feet up during the day. You might need anti-inflammatory medications as well.

Once the pain has disappeared, you’ll need to rehabilitate your toe. Stretching will help regain an appropriate range of motion. Exercises to strengthen your toe will help condition your foot to handle the strain of your activities. Even then, you’ll need to ease into sports slowly.

Turf toe is serious, since it limits your mobility. You don’t have to let it sideline you forever, though. Some prompt care will get you back into your busy life without pain. If you’ve sprained your foot, let our team at West Lawn Podiatry help. Call (610) 678-4581 or use the online form to request an appointment.

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