Turf Toe – 3 Symptoms You May Have

Running, Foot, Uncategorized, Blog, / By Koh Peh Chia

Turf toe is a common injury seen among the active population as well as athletes. It can affect your function to run or walk as well as daily activities. However, with prompt treatment, it can be easily managed. In this week’s blog, we will share 3 symptoms you may encounter if you have turf toe.

What is Turf Toe?

Turf toe is a sprain of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which is the main joint of the big toe. The most common mechanism of injury happens when the big toe is forced into extreme positions during activities such as pushing off or jamming your toe. This puts the big toe in hyperextension. Thus, it causes a sprain when someone pushes off with their feet and cause damage to the tendons, ligaments, or bones around the joint. This usually causes pain, even when walking and can drag on for prolonged periods especially when not treated.

3 Symptoms of Turf Toe

1. Swelling and feeling warmth
The feeling of warmth in the joint is a common sign as there is usually inflammation of the MTP joint in. This may also be accompanied with swelling too. Icing the area about 15 minutes will help in soothing the pain and warmth.

2. Painful when putting load on toes
Turf toe can be painful especially when you start to put load on the toes again. This indicates damage done to the joint. The joint should be rested, and a splint can even be used to minimize movement to allow for recovery of the joint.

3. Feeling a pop/crack around the joint
As we know that Turf Toe can result in tendon or ligamentous damage. The rough surfaces may rub against each other when you bend or straighten your toe. Thus, you may feel a grinding sensation or hear cracking or popping sounds (crepitus).

If you are starting to feel any of above signs and symptoms, do seek help early from our physiotherapists. Early diagnosis and treatment will help delay the exacerbation of the symptoms. If you have more questions or would like to book an appointment, feel free to contact us through our website or Instagram page.

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McCormick JJ, Anderson RB. Rehabilitation following turf toe injury and plantar plate repair. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2010 Apr;29(2):313-23, ix. DOI: 10.1016/j.csm.2009.12.010.

Seow, D., Tengku Yusof, T. N., Yasui, Y., Shimozono, Y., & Kennedy, J. G. (2020). Treatment Options for Turf Toe: A Systematic Review. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 59(1), 112–116.

Vopat, M. L., Hassan, M., Poppe, T., Tarakemeh, A., Zackula, R., Mulcahey, M. K., Mullen, S., Burkholder, R., Schroeppel, J. P., & Vopat, B. G. (2019). Return to Sport After Turf Toe Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.