Turf Toe is a condition in which the joint of the big toe gets sprained. The injury affects the “plantar complex’ a group of various ligaments, small bones and soft tissues that enclose as well as support the big toe. The condition is mainly seen in footballers, high jumpers, gymnasts, basketballers and ballet dancers. Depending on the severity of the injury, the condition can be categorized as following:

Grade 1: mild swelling at the big toe joint with minimal tenderness occurring due to stretching of the plantar complex.

Grade 2: Tender joint with limited movement, moderate swelling and bruising may be seen. It occurs due to tear in the plantar complex.

Grade 3: Complete tearing of the plantar complex, painful movement of the joint, severe swelling and tenderness. Patient may be unable to perform routine activities.


  • Stretching of the joint
  • Hyperextension of the joint
  • Repetitive trauma or stress injury
  • Wearing shoes that do not provide proper support to the feet


  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Swelling at the joint
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty moving the big toe
  • Limited range of motion


  • First Aid treatment: The doctor may advise the patient to follow the RICE protocol, which is as follows:
  • Rest:Taking rest to allow the muscles to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs to compress swelling
  • Compression: Compression bandages may be worn to prevent further damage.
  • Elevation: The leg should be kept elevated above the heart level to reduce swelling.
  • Keeping the joint immobile for a few days may be recommended for patients with Grade 2 Turf Toe.
  • Wearing a walking boot or braces may be recommended to restrict the movement of the joint
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to provide relief from pain and inflammation.
  • Surgical treatment may require if there is a severe tear in the plantar complex.

Following complications may also call for a surgical intervention: Fracture of the sesamoid bones

  • Unstable big toe
  • Damaged cartilage of the joint
  • Severe symptoms

We, at OrthoTexas, provide treatment for Turf Toe and various other foot conditions.