9 Turf Toe Treatments

Big muscles get a lot of attention in the world of physical activity, but there’s a part of your body responsible for your very balance while walking upright and we barely notice it. Barely, that is, until something goes wrong.

Turf Toe is a small injury that can ultimately put you out. If your toe screams in pain every time you walk, you aren’t going to get much done, are you? You’ve got Turf Toe.

The name comes from football where players frequently stress those ligaments running at full speed on artificial turf. It’s not limited to football, however. All repetitive, forceful movements put you at risk.

The affected area is the metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP. It connects the foot bone to the bone in the first toe. The sprain occurs, and sufferers feel pain, loss of movement, numbness at times, and swelling. The symptoms rarely happen all at once, usually developing over a period of time.

Medical practitioners diagnose the condition in three grades of severity. Grade one is the mildest with some tenderness and swelling, but no tearing. Usually, careful wrapping and rest is the answer.

Grade two is a little more severe. There is partial tearing in addition to MTP spraining. Symptoms are more pronounced with pain and swelling. There may also be bruising at the injury site. Typically, treatment is two weeks of rest at least to allow the symptoms to subside and medical professionals to reevaluate the extent of the injury.

Grade three is the most severe. This is a complete tear with the patient unable to put weight on the foot at all. Several weeks of immobilization plus extensive orthopedic care is necessary to heal the injury and prevent further tearing.

Let’s take a look at a few standard treatments that help ease symptoms and ensure you’re back on your game soon.

1.R (Rest) I (Ice) C (Compression) E (Elevation)

R Rest I Ice C Compression E Elevation treatment is a common starting point for all kinds of injuries. It’s a critical component of heading off any sports injury before you even seek medical attention.

(R) First, stop what you’re doing. Pain can be a threshold, but it’s also your body’s way of telling you to stop. Don’t think you’ll be better off if you push through the pain.

(I) Next, apply ice to the affected area. It can temporarily relieve the pain you’re feeling and help you get a handle on the swelling as it begins. Be careful not to cause injury to your skin through extended exposure to freezing, however. A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Regularly assess the swelling to see if further ice treatments are necessary.

(C) After ice, compression helps immobilize the injury site, so you don’t further strain it. The most common method is taping. Using athletic or KT tape, stretch the toe towards the shin as much as is comfortable. Take a thin piece of tape and wrap it around the toe, applying tension, but be careful not to cut off circulation. Take a long piece of tape and attach it from the base of your heal to the edge of the toe.

If you aren’t using KT tape, also tape the next biggest toes to your big toe to prevent movement.

(E) Elevate the foot at 45 degrees to prevent blood from pooling in the area and to further reduce swelling. This is part of the rest component as well, allowing your injury to heal on its own.