Turf Toe

Turf toe is an injury to the ligament at the base of the big toe. It is a painful condition which usually results from jamming the toe into the ground or excessive upward bending of the toe.


Turf toe is usually caused by a sprain of the ligaments surrounding the big toe. Walking, running, jumping, dancing or any sudden movement involving hyperextension of the big toe may cause a sprain of the surrounding ligaments and an injury to the joint capsule. This may also result in dislocation of the big toe. A stiff shoe with limited forefoot flexibility maya be useful in the prevention of this injury in athletes.


The predominant symptom of turf toe is pain at the base of the big toe which is sudden in onset. The pain may also be associated with swelling and limitation of movement of the big toe.


Turf toe is a soft tissue injury diagnosed by a through physical examination of the injured toe joint. In some cases X-rays or an MRI may also be used to aid in making the diagnosis.


The immediate treatment of turf toe is aimed at reduction of the swelling and inflammation of the affected joint. RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation) can be used for the management of pain, swelling and inflammation. In addition to this, anti-inflammatory medications may also be given to relieve the symptoms. The joint may be immobilized by strapping to prevent further injury to the joint.

Surgical treatment is rarely recommended for turf toe. However, it may be considered in severe cases and those that do not heal with nonoperative treatment.

  • American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • jackson memorial hospital
  • Foot & Ankle International
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
  • university miami
  • Hospital for Special Surgery
  • My Footcare MD