Turf toe: It's a common football and dancing malady that occurs when your big toe is vigorously bent and becomes over-extended, causing swelling and pain at the joint.
"With a sudden extension of the big toe, you get a tearing of the structures on the bottom of the big toe leading to what we call 'turf toe,'" says Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Brian Donley. "That tearing of the structures are the ligaments, the capsule, and sometimes the two little bones underneath the big toe."
This injury is often seen in athletes who play on artificial fields, which is why it's called turf toe. Shoes that are designed to grip and stick to the turf have a tendency to increase the risk of over-flexing the foot. However, turf toe can occur in any sport and on any surface. While initial remedies include ice and rest, long-term treatment options may vary from patient to patient.
"If it's a minor injury, sometimes it's just resting in a boot for a short time and then getting back to play," explains Dr. Donley. "If it's a significant injury, it sometimes can cause actual damage to the joint and that needs a much prolonged recovery."
Dr. Donley says rare cases may require surgery to restore the function and mobility of the big toe.
But the best treatment plan is prevention. Make sure to wear shoes with proper support and develop sound training techniques to help keep you moving.
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