What Is Turf Toe Anyway: Common Sports Injuries Explained
Here at Children's Health, we're exploring the facts behind common sports injuries, like turf toe, to help your young athlete stay safe and healthy.
As the new football season kicks off across the nation, you’ll probably be hearing a lot about “turf toe.” I know what you’re thinking, and no, turf toe isn’t an excess of green hair covering the feet of athletes.
The term turf toe actually refers to a common injury among athletes of all different sports. While turf toe is most common in football players, it also affects players of other sports such as basketball, wrestling and gymnastics.
Essentially, 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.
How Do You Avoid Turf Toe?
Now that we know what turf toe is, what can be done to help 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 just offer practical advice on how to avoid injury in the future. Keeping your child's feet, and especially their big toes, secure is key, so so 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
Has your child ever had turf toe? If so, what did you do to help ease the pain and keep it from happening again?