Sep 4, 2014, 3:15:45 PM CDT Feb 23, 2023, 4:48:01 PM CST

Tips to avoid and treat turf toe in young athletes

Learn more about this common toe injury among athletes including prevention tips and ways to treat

Football Quarterback Running with the Ball Football Quarterback Running with the Ball

During football season, you may hear about an injury called turf toe. The term turf toe refers to a common injury among athletes. While turf toe is most common in football players, it also affects players of other sports such as basketball, wrestling and gymnastics.

Turf toe is a sprain of the tendons, usually around the big toe, that hold the joint in place. These tendons allow the big toe joint to function as a hinge that receives a lot of stress from the continued jumping and running motions that are common in sports.

The symptoms of turf toe can include pain in the toe joint, swelling or a “popping” sound when the toe is flexed.
The symptoms of turf toe can include pain in the toe joint, swelling or a “popping” sound when the toe is flexed.

How do you avoid turf toe?

Now that we know what turf toe is, what can be done to avoid it? It can be helpful to ask your child's doctor if you are concerned about him or her getting turf toe, since they can often prescribe special shoe inserts or offer practical advice on how to avoid injury in the future. Keeping your child's feet, and especially their big toes, secure is key. Try to avoid shoes that allow the foot to bend farther than is comfortable.

How do you treat turf toe?

Turf toe is relatively easy to treat and usually requires a two to four week healing period. Here are some ways to bring relief to your injured athlete who has turf toe:

  • Rest – take a break from the sport
  • Ice, elevation and compression of the injured area
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as prescribed by your child's doctor for pain and inflammation
  • Surgery – for severe cases

Learn more

Children's Health Andrews Institute offers families in North Texas and beyond an all-inclusive healthcare destination for a range of sports medicine needs and orthopedic conditions. Learn more about our programs and services.

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athlete, joints, musculoskeletal, physician advice, sport, sports injury, sports medicine, sprain, turf toe

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