Turf Toe.. More Serious Than You Think

Turf toe sounds like a minor injury that only involves a single toe, however it can be a career ending injury like it was for Deion Sanders. It commonly occurs in athletes who play sports on artificial turf, hence the name “turf” toe. This injury occurs when athletes bend their big toe beyond its normal flexibility. Cleats often get stuck in divots in artificial turf leading to hyper extension of the toe. Hyper extension of the big toe can take place every time the athlete pushes off with their toes to start running. This motion occurs multiple times during every game and practice eventually over time the big toe becomes sprained.

The severity of the injury is graded from 1 to 3

Grade

Injury

Treatment

1

Mild sprain

  • RICE – rest, ice, compress, elevate

  • Taping the toe to restrict movement

  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication

2

Partial tear of the capsule and ligaments

  • Same as Grade 1 + walking boot to immobilize the big toe joint

3

Complete tear of the capsule and ligaments

  • Same as Grade 1 + walking boot or cast for immobilization

 

Physical therapy should also be implemented to prevent stiffness in the joint and gain adequate range of motion. Surgery is often not needed, but is an option for some cases.

Foot& Ankle Doctors, Inc recommend athletes who return to sports should have their shoes modified with a steel shank or stiff insoles to restrict hyper extension of the toe.

Dr. Nejad

Podiatrists Preventing Falls

Fall related injuries are a serious burden on the public health system. More than a third of older adults fall each year and injuries can result in fractures, head traumas, decreased function and loss of independence in the elderly. Podiatrists can help reduce fall related injuries by evaluating your gait (the way you walk), your strength and your balance.

 

Dr. Dardashti stresses the importance of finding the right shoes. When selecting shoes he evaluates the heel height, sole slip resistance, sole flexion point (does the shoe bend in the correct area), sole hardness and sole thickness. Finding the right shoe increases support when walking thus boosting confidence and decreasing the fear of falling. Custom orthotics can also improve balance and support by evenly distributing pressure and forces, realigning the body in a more anatomically correct position that improves stability and reduces the likelihood of falling.

 

Muscle weakness can reduce flexibility and balance contributing the falls. For these patients Dr. Dardashti recommends braces and AFO’s (ankle foot orthotics). It’s crucial to stretch the muscles of the leg, foot and toes to improve strength, balance and proprioception. The specialists at the Foot & Ankle Doctors, Inc can provide you with simple stretches you can perform at home to improve your strength and balance.

 

Certain foot problems are risk factors for falls that can be addressed by podiatrists such as lower extremity muscle weakness, limited ankle motion, foot deformities like bunions, toe deformities such as hammertoes and calluses. It’s important to see your podiatrist regularly to address any of these risk factors.

Dr. David Dardashti