The symptoms of turf toe can include pain, swelling, and limited joint movement.
These symptoms they usually begin slowly. If they aren’t addressed properly, they gradually worsen.
Turf toe is essentially a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint.
What causes turf toe?
The injury usually results from the excessive forces on the joint associated with running sports, particularly on artificial turf.
Turf toe can also be caused by a direct injury that leads to damage of the bone beneath the cartilage.
Even mild, but repeated, episodes of this trauma can result in severe pain and an inability to walk or run, which is a devastating outcome for a running athlete.
The foot and its functional capabilities maladapt when unhealthy footwear is worn for an extended period of time.
Optimally, the great toe and arch should rise, pre-ground contact, in anticipation of the activity-related forces that are expected during weight bearing and propulsion. This pre-ground contact muscle activation promotes arch system stability and the ideal positioning of the great toe for optimal propulsion during toe off. This generates little or no stress on the big toe joint.
If this muscle firing sequence does not occur, or the big toe is prevented from rising due to tight restrictive footwear, the propulsion load-bearing forces exert extreme stresses on the big toe joint. It is these stresses that cause turf toe.