What is a Turf Toe
Turf toe is a condition of pain at the base of the big toe, located at the ball of the foot. The condition is usually caused from either jamming the toe, or pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. The most common complaint is pain at the base of the toe, but you may also have symptoms of stiffness and swelling.
Causes of Turf Toe:
The name "turf toe" comes from the fact that this injury is especially common among athletes who play on artificial turf. The hard surface of artificial turf, combined with running and jumping in football and soccer. This injury is also common among judo, wrestling and bjj when a particpant either when avoiding a technique or footsweep may stub their toe on either the mat or their opponent.
Effects on the Toe:
When a player sustains a turf toe injury, they are actually tearing the capsule that surrounds the joint at the base of the toe. Tearing this joint capsule can be extremely painful. Furthermore, tears of the joint capsule can lead to instability and even dislocation of the joint at the base of the toe. This can cause accelerated cartilage wear and arthritis of the big toe (hallux rigidus).
Diagnosis of Turf Toe:
Turf toe is diagnosed based primarily on the physical examination of the patient. Making the diagnosis of turf toe is not difficult, but x-rays may be taken to ensure there is no fracture or evidence of arthritis.
Treatment of turf toe consists of controlling the inflammation of the joint capsule. The most important aspect of treatment is to rest the sore toe to allow the inflammation to subside and the joint capsule to heal. In addition to resting the toe, inflammation can be controlled by icing the area, and elevating the foot, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Don't Play Sports With Turf Toe:
Athletes diagnosed with turf toe should avoid their sport at least three weeks to allow the joint capsule to heal. Without doing so, the injury can progress, and can lead to an even longer recuperation. It is not uncommon for athletes to try to come back too soon, or to try to play through the injury. Unfortunately, this usually leads to a more chronic injury, and ultimately a longer recovery.
Turf toe can return, especially in athletes that try to come back to sports before adequate healing. Once returning to activities, special footwear inserts can be used to limit the motion of the big toe and prevent further damage to the joint capsule.
For grapplers it is reccommended to strap the injured toe using the following method:
Info taken from