What is Turf Toe?
The injury occurs with hyperextension of the great toe at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Most often occurring with football athletes, although with the more common installation of artificial turf for field sports, this injury is happening with greater frequency and is often misdiagnosed by athletic staff.
There are three grades of severity according to the mechanism of injury. Depending on the force and direction of impact, a variety of injuries can occur ranging from strain or sprain of the plantar capsule to outright dislocation of the toe. Based on a proper diagnosis by one of our foot and ankle specialist, an appropriate treatment plan may be implemented.
When a Grade I or II has been determined, physical therapy has a high success rate for a full recovery and return to sport. According to McCormick and Anderson, whose study reports, “In all cases, acute and chronic, diligent rehabilitation with the assistance of a therapist or trainer is critical to the full recovery of the patient.”
If one is diagnosed with a Grade III, physical therapy is still the primary route prescribed for regaining push-off strength, but if conservative treatment fails, one must consider the possibility of surgical intervention, even though the cases are rare in which surgical repair is a necessity. McCormick and Anderson state in their research, “Because of the infrequency with which these injuries are surgically repaired, they should always be referred to a foot and ankle specialist.”
*Turf Toe Injuries are Commonly Misdiagnosed and Mistreated.