Turf Toe: Summer Sports Foul

A risk for children and adult athletes, Turf Toe is an injury to the soft tissue structures that support the big toe. At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Clinic we often see cases of Turf Toe in players of team sports such as soccer, basketball, and football, as well as those who participate in gymnastics, wrestling, and dance. Basically any activity that requires repeatedly pushing off with the big toe or where the big toe can jam or stop short can cause Turf Toe.

Two Kinds of Onset
In some instances, the injury causing Turf Toe is obvious. At the moment of pushing off, you experience a sharp pain and you may even feel a “pop” when the injury occurs. The pain will usually increase dramatically over the next 24 hours. Sometimes, the pain is not severe at first and players will finish out the game, which results in a more dramatic injury to the big toe.  Turf Toe can also have a gradual onset, with symptoms of pain, swelling, and tenderness that may come and go, but gradually worsen to the point of extreme discomfort, with limited mobility due to stiffening of the joint.

Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing symptoms of  Turf Toe, call (405) 321-6984 or request an appointment online  with our board certified podiatrist, Dr. A. Bil Buksh. He will conduct a thorough exam of the toe and foot and may order a digital x-ray which can be done in either our Norman or Edmond office. Once diagnosed, Dr. Buksh will determine the right treatment for you or your child which may include:

  • Resting the foot. Most likely a few weeks off the field or floor will be necessary to allow the big toe to heal.
  • Icing the sore area to reduce swelling.
  • Compression with elastic-type bandages to help control swelling.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may be prescribed to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Once the toe is healed, you may need to consider a change in footwear to try to prevent Turf Toe from reoccurring. To find out more about Turf Toe and other sports related injuries, visit our Patient Library.