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Everything you need to know about turf toe

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What is it?

Turf toe is a condition that happens when you bend your big toe up to the top of your foot. It is also known as hyperextension. When this happens, you may sprain or injure your toe and the ligaments surrounding it.

This is becoming more common because artificial turf is often used in football fields. Players often slip and hurt their toes or get injured because of the door. Besides football players, ballet dancers, basketball players, and wrestlers may also get turf toe because they use their feet on hard surfaces.

It is a type of metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints pain. That means that the tissue and one or more of the joints that connect the toes to the rest of the four have been injured.

The symptoms

The most noticeable symptom of the turf toe is the feeling of pain around the big toe area. The pain may be present in the joint that goes up the foot toward the ankle. When the toe bends suddenly and quickly, you are likely to feel the pain. It can start gradually when you hyperextend your toe over and over. Sometimes you may also notice a popping sound when you first bend the toe too far and then you may feel the pain.

Other symptoms may include- 

  • tenderness or sensitivity around the toe and nearby joint
  • swelling around the big toe and the joint
  • not being able to move the toe around normally
  • stiffness in the toe joint


You need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Tell your doctor about the situation in which you believe you first got the injury. The doctor then can examine your big toe for any pain, swelling, or other symptoms. He/she may also perform a full physical examination to check your overall health. He/she may look for abnormal swelling or redness. They will check the two physically to verify the source of pain. The doctor may test the range of motion of your toe. Sometimes, imaging tests like x-ray or MRI scans may also be necessary to find out about the condition of your toe and any abnormalities present.

Treatment options

How is it treated? There are three grades of turf toe injuries, and the treatment depends on the grade of the injury.

Grade 1

It is the least of the serious injuries of the toe. It can be treated at home using the RICE method.

RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation.

First, you need to stop doing activities that can make your injury wars. You need to give your two a break. Apply a cold pack of ice to keep the swelling and inflammation down. Wrap a bandage around the foot and toes. Lie down and keep your foot up to help drain fluid and keep swelling down.

Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as prescribed by your doctor.

Grade 2

In case of such injuries, since they are a little more serious, you may need to use crutches or a walking boot to protect your foot.

Grade 3

If your injury is of grade 3 level, you may need surgery for treating it because here a bone is broken, the ligament is completely torn, or a joint is damaged.