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Turf Toe

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Hawthorn football player James Frawley is out for 8 weeks with a Turf Toe Injury.  So, what is turf toe and why does it take so long to heal?

Turf toe is a sprain of the 1st MPJ or the joint where the big toe attaches to the foot.  It usually occurs when the big toe is hyperextended or forced upwards.  This can occur as the toes push off the ground but can also result from another person stepping on the toes as the foot is moving.  Turf toe can be classified as grade 1, 2 or 3 which indicate severity.  In the worst cases, the ligament under the toe is torn.  Pain is felt each time the toes bend, which is obviously difficult to avoid as this occurs with each step we take.  Foot injuries are therefore difficult and can take long periods to heal properly for this very reason.  It is very difficult to rest a foot completely unless a plaster cast or a cam boot walker is used.

If a turf toe injury is suspected, treatment should initially involve rest, ice and elevation.  Consultation with a podiatrist will ascertain the extent of the injury and guide further treatment.  A variety of treatments may be implemented ranging from taping; which can be very effective, right through to surgery in some cases.

If correct treatment is not undertaken there can be a permanent loss of flexibility at this joint.  This will cause altered biomechanics and most likely predispose this joint to arthritis and pain in the long term.  Correct diagnosis, treatment and adequate rest from sport will reduce the likelihood of long term complications.

We wish James Frawley a speedy recovery.

 

REFERENCES

Clinical Sports Medicines Brukner and Khan 4th edition 2012 McGraw-Hill Education

Podiatry Today: http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/9063

http://www.medicinenet.com/turf_toe_symptoms_causes_and_treatments/article.htm