Still wondering how our Texans lost so badly to the Ravens this past Sunday? Maybe it was because we were missing offensive tackle Duane Brown, who did not travel with the team due to a bad case of turf toe (a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe joint.) Turf toe is a condition that’s caused by jamming the big toe or repeatedly pushing off the big toe forcefully; it is a common injury among football players, soccer stars, wrestlers, gymnasts and dancers.
Turf toe gets its name because turf is harder than grass or other surfaces; when athletes like football players jam their toes on turf, they are that much more likely to sustain this type of injury.
It’s usually pretty obvious if you have a case of turf toe—you will likely have pain, swelling and limited joint movement at the base of one or both of your big toes. In most cases, symptoms develop slowly; just as with stress fractures, turf toe gets worse over time due to the repetitive nature of the injury. If, in less common circumstances, it’s caused by a sudden forceful motion, you’ll have pain immediately and your condition will get worse within 24 hours.
When you have a case of turf toe like Duane Brown, rest is mandatory; an X-Ray or MRI may be necessary to rule out other injuries. When I see cases of turf toe in my Houston podiatry practice, I conduct a full examination of the entire foot, sometimes immobilizing the foot in a boot or walking cast in order to allow the toe to heal.
With proper care, turf toe can heal in two or three weeks, but some athletes still require physical therapy after that. If a sports injury like turf toe is keeping you or your child on the sidelines, make an appointment to see Dr. Andrew Schneider immediately, to avoid permanent foot damage that can affect your athletic dreams.