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Conquering Turf Toe

Even though the Atlanta Falcons couldn’t hang on to their halftime lead in Super Bowl LI, they made some amazing plays that we won’t easily forget. How about wide receiver Julio Jones? – he looked like he was defying the laws of physics when he caught the ball and landed just within bounds, gripping the turf with his toes even as the rest of his body fell forward out of bounds.

What makes that play even more astounding is that Jones executed it despite nagging injuries to his feet, including a pre-season sprained ankle and turf toe that kept him off the field for many hours of practice since it happened last December. How did he do it? Perseverance probably had a lot to do with it – it’s his job to do amazing things with his body. But no doubt he had excellent medical supervision and treatment as well.

What’s turf toe?

You don’t have to be a pro football player to get a sports injury like turf toe. Anyone who plays team sports, especially on artificial turf, can suffer this kind of damage. Turf toe is essentially a hyperextension (overextension) of the big toe. It bends too far, usually from being planted in one place while the rest of your foot turns away in a different direction.

This hyperextension – which we call a sprained toe or turf toe – can happen in one of two ways:

  1. Repetitive stress over time: you continually stress the toe through the same movements, such as running or jumping.
  2. An acute event, meaning a one-time, sudden movement that causes immediate pain and sometimes a popping sound – which is the sound of your toe ligament being pulled.

Getting treatment

Like Julio Jones, you can get excellent treatment for a turf toe injury, even if you’re not on the Falcons’ elite roster of players. Just contact board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, VA. Dr. Wilhelm and his team specialize in all foot and ankle injuries, including sports and running injuries like turf toe. Make an appointment with us online or give us a call at (703) 996-3000.

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