I recently saw a 41 year old softball player in my Hillsborough podiatry office. He was playing ball over the weekend and came to the office with a swollen big toe! He could barely walk and was in a lot of pain. He was worried about his toe pain, but was even more worried about how long he would be riding the bench.
Diagnosing Turf Toe
First, we took digital x-rays which were negative. Upon physical examination the patient had stiffness and decreased range of motion in his great toe joint. He told me that when he jumped up to catch a ball that he landed awkward on his foot and particularly his big toe. He finished the inning but had to take himself out of the game.
I determined that he had a form of TURF TOE. This can be very painful! Turf toe refers to a sprain of the big toe joint. It is usually caused by sprinting and overextending the toe. It is common in football and soccer players, especially those playing on artificial grounds- hence “turf” toe.
Treating Turf Toe
We immobilized him in a walking boot and wrapped his foot in a soft cast. I also started anti-inflammatory therapy for him. I saw him over the course of the month while changing casts as needed. The patient’s pain slowly went down and we progressed him to light activity for another 2 weeks. He made it back for the playoffs and is now pain free!
Get Back in the Game Faster
Our Hillsborough and Piscataway podiatry offices treat athletes every day. We understand the main goal is to ultimately get back in the game. We never want to keep an athlete off the field. We create personalized treatment plans for our patients so they can get better while still working towards getting back in the game.