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Todd Borenstein MD

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Turf Toe

What is turf toe?

Turf toe is an injury to the great toe joint and occurs when the capsule of the joint is stretched or torn.

What causes turf toe?

Turf toe is caused by an upward force to the great toe, often when an athlete makes a cut on artificial turf. This can lead to stretching or tearing of the joint capsule at the base of the great toe.

What are the symptoms of turf toe?

Patients with turf toe typically have pain and swelling in the great toe.

How is a turf toe diagnosed?

Turf toe is diagnosed by thorough history and physical examination. X-rays are typically ordered to assess for any abnormality of the sesamoid bones. Sometimes MRI may be ordered to better evaluate the capsule of the great toe joint.

How is turf toe treated?

Nonsurgical treatment

Conservative treatment for partial tears of the capsule include rest, ice, NSAIDS, taping the toe, and activity modifications. The main goal is to limit motion of the joint until the capsule can heal.

Operative treatment

Operative treatment can be necessary in patients who have complete tears.