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Turf toe refers to a sprain that affects the ligaments surrounding the big toe joint. Turf toe usually affects football players, especially those playing on artificial turf. It’s important to note that the condition can affect athletes in many other sports including basketball, soccer, gymnastics, wrestling and dance.

What Causes Turf Toe?

Turf toe is caused when the big toe is suddenly bent beyond its normal limit resulting in hyperextension, such as when a football player is tackled and falls forward fall while the big toe is in a flat position. Turf toe injuries can also be caused by shoes that don’t offer proper foot support.

How to Avoid Turf Toe

Turf toe can be avoided by wearing the correct shoes for the playing surface as well as special inserts designed by a podiatrist, physical therapist or sports medicine specialist. Gait problems have also been associated with turf toe injuries, so correcting gait can also help in preventing turf toe. Developing better training techniques also goes a long way in reducing turf toe risks among athletes.

Turf Toe Treatment

The basic turf toe treatment involves a combination of elevation, rest, ice and compression. In some cases, doctors prescribe over-the-counter oral medication like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and control pain. Turf toe injuries can also treated using a special walking boot, crutches or a cast to immobilize the foot completely and keep it from moving. It is important to note that turf toe injuries can also be treated through surgery in severe cases.