Medical Definition of Turf toe

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Turf toe: An injury to the big toe due to forced hyperextension (upward bending back) of the toe. The damage is to the capsule of the joint (the first metatarsophalangeal joint) and the ligaments that connect the big toe to the foot. Hyperflexible shoes predispose to the injury. The big toe is painful, tender and swollen. Treatment is with icing, rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Taping of the big toe and a stiff insole insert in the shoe may help prevent hyperextension of the toe. Turf toe is so named for its occurrence on the artificial playing surfaces used in American football. Turf toe also occurs in other sports played on artificial turf, in grass sports, and the martial arts. Also known medically as a metatarsophalangeal joint sprain.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018