Facts About Turf Toe


It’s football and soccer season and that means at Goldsmith Podiatry we are treating more cases of turf toe. When our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith or Dr. Rosanna Troia, give patients a diagnosis of turf toe, they are often puzzled, having never heard of this condition before. Below are some facts about turf toe to help you better understand this podiatric problem.

FACT: Turf toe is actually a sprain of the big toe joint.

FACT: Turf toe can occur in one of two ways:

  • It can be the result of an acute injury (often suffered on an artificial turf field) when an athlete jumps, pushes off suddenly and very hard or when the foot sticks to the hard surface of the turf resulting in jamming the big toe. This type of injury often occurs to football and soccer players and those who do basketball, wrestling, gymnastics or dance.

  • Turf toe can also come on gradually and be caused by repetitive pushing off motion with the foot. This is seen in patients who are avid runners or walkers and those who have to squat and get up repeatedly or climb ladders during the course of a day due to their jobs.

FACT: Overly flexible, less-supportive footwear has been found to be a contributing factor to turf toe. For that reason, patients who are at higher risk for this condition may be advised to wear shoes that have stiffer soles.

FACT: Symptoms of turf toe include pain at the base of the big toe, swelling, and limited range of motion of the big toe.

FACT: To diagnose turf toe, the podiatrist will want to examine your toe and foot, get a medical history, and ask questions about sports and activities that you do frequently. X-rays and other imaging studies may be ordered to rule out a broken toe.

FACT: Treatment for turf toe initially is following the RICE regimen: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This will allow the pain and swelling to subside. When the damage is severe, and patients are in constant pain, surgery may be the only option.

If you believe you may have turf toe, contact our New York City office or schedule an appointment online today by calling; 212-877-1002.