Published: 2012-05-09 13:24:10
Author: DR. ANTHONY ALESSI
Toe injuries are not often associated with the need to remove an athlete from a contest. Turf toe is a painful foot injury that has pushed athletes to the sideline for extended recovery periods.
The human foot is divided into three basic sections: the hindfoot (heel), the midfoot (arch), and the forefoot (toes). Turf toe affects the forefoot.
Turf toe involves the first metatarsalphalangeal joint. This joint is the connection between the great toe and the bone that anchors it to the foot. Like other sprains, turf toe consists of damage to the connective tissues that stabilize the moving parts.
The mechanism of injury consists of sudden, extreme dorsiflexion (upward bending) of the great toe. The force results in stretching and tearing ligaments beyond their normal range of motion. Cartilage can also be injured in more severe trauma.
Inflammation follows with swelling and pain. Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Turf toe usually involves an activity on a firm surface, and is most common in football. The recent popularity of using artificial turf over natural turf is part of the reason for the rise in cases. A force applied to the calf muscle while the knee is flexed is another cause of turf toe.