Logo Hinkler Podiatry

Turf Toe


It is simply a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint. It’s a condition that’s caused by jamming the big toe or repeatedly pushing off the big toe forcefully as in running and jumping. The most common symptoms of turf toe include pain, swelling, and limited joint movement at the base of one big toe. The symptoms develop slowly and gradually get worse over time if it’s caused by repetitive injury. If it’s caused by a sudden forceful motion, the injury can be painful immediately and worsen within 24 hours. Sometimes when the injury occurs, a “pop” can be felt. Usually the entire joint is involved, and toe movement is limited.

How did I get this?

The name “turf toe” comes from the fact that this injury is especially common among athletes who play on artificial turf. When playing sports on artificial turf the foot can stick to the hard surface, resulting in jamming of the big toe joint. There has also been some indication that less-supportive flexible shoes worn on artificial turf are also to blame.

What can I do about it?

Initial treatments include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. (RICE), as well as a change to less-flexible footwear.
Podiatry consultation for further management.

What help can I get for this?

  • Podiatrist may use measures to limit great toe motion such as stiff soled shoes, or a cam walker to protect the injured tissue while it heals.
  • Podiatrist may consider taping the big toe and using a Morton’s extension splint may be beneficial in protecting the toe.
  • Orthopaedic surgeon for surgical correction if nonoperative approach does not work with the symptoms.

When will it get better?

In many cases, if adequate compliance is achieved, conservatively and surgically treated patients can return to their pre-injury level of function. However, some disability is possible with either form of treatment.