Treating Turf Toe
A common misunderstanding is that nothing can really be done for toe injuries other than letting them heal on their own. This is simply not true!
Some turf toe injuries, just like some ankle sprains, can be managed well at home, but it is always better to receive a proper evaluation and treatment from a foot and ankle specialist. If you provide inadequate treatment for turf toe and it fails to heal properly, it can easily lead to a chronic debilitating condition.
RICE therapy should be initiated as soon as possible after a suspected turf toe injury. This is the classic acronym for:
Keep weight off the foot as much as possible and keep it above the level of your heart whenever sitting or lying down. Apply ice to the joint 30 minutes out of each hour several times within the initial 48 hours after the injury making sure the ice is not in direct contact with your skin.
After initiating RICE therapy, give us a call so we can further evaluate and establish a treatment plan based on the severity of your injury. We may order an imaging test (x-ray, MRI) to rule out the possibility of a fracture or other concomitant injuries.
For mild cases of turf toe, we may recommend further rest, as well as the use of medication to reduce pain and inflammation. More severe injuries may require Spica taping, a walking boot or cast to immobilize the toe, providing a better opportunity for a more rapid recovery.
In most cases, turf toe injuries take at least 2-3 weeks to heal. Some stretching and exercises may be recommended at that time to help restore full strength and range of motion to the joint.
If the toe has suffered a severe sprain and aggressive conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgery may become a consideration. The need for surgery is rare, and only tends to arise if the ligaments surrounding the toe joint have been severely torn or other significant damage has occurred.