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Turf Toe Can Take a Long Time to Heal

Pre-season football has already seen a good number of players sidelined by injuries. Here’s what recently caught our interest at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center: Greg Senat’s turf toe injury. Senat of the Baltimore Ravens will be off the field “for a while,” says his coach. It can take a long time to make a full recovery from turf toe. And that’s not what any athlete wants to hear.

What is turf toe?

Turf toe is one of the many sports injuries to the feet that board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM treats at our office in northern Virginia. One or more of the ligaments in the big toe is overstretched or torn typically in one of 3 ways:

  1. Overuse: repeated pushing off the big toe with force can damage ligaments over time.
  2. Jamming motion: one forceful downward movement can tear ligaments. If the injury occurs in this sudden manner, you’ll know it by an audible “popping” sound and immediate, severe pain.
  3. Forced hyperextension: an example of this would be if you make a play by quickly turning your own body – but your foot remains firmly planted on the ground. The soft tissues in the toe get overstretched (hyperextended), perhaps to the point of tearing.

Who’s likely to get turf toe?

Due to the nature of artificial turf, turf toe is common among football and soccer players. But the injury isn’t limited to these ball players. Gymnasts use their toes in ways that put them at risk as well. The same is true for those who wrestle, play basketball, or dance.

Protect your feet

You can help prevent turf toe by wearing the right athletic shoes for your sport. Make sure to replace them when they no longer provide the proper support. And if you do show signs of this injury – including pain, swelling, and difficulty moving your toe – make an appointment with Dr. Wilhelm. It can be hard to judge the severity of a turf toe injury without x-rays or other imaging. If it’s not treated properly, it’s not likely to heal properly. So give us a call at our Centreville, VA office at (703) 996-3000.

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