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What is turf toe and how do we treat it at the podiatrist?

We’ve been hearing a lot about turf toe since Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs lost the Super Bowl. But do you know what a turf toe injury involves? Or what treatment will fix this sports injury? Today, we’ll take you through all the info you need to know.

What is turf toe? patrick mahomes turf toe

When you are diagnosed with turf toe, it means you’ve sprained your big toe’s main joint. [i] Now, that’s kind of hard to do, but the sprain usually happens when you forcibly push your toe to hyperextend—like when you’re pushing off a hard surface to start running, but your toe gets stuck in a flat position on the ground.

But why do we call this type of sprain turf toe? Well, the answer is simple. It’s become a common football player injury. And a lot of football games get played on turf, an artificial surface that’s harder than grass, has little flexibility, and leaves lots of players with this specific sprain.

Recently, turf toe’s gotten lots of press attention because of Patrick Mahomes. During his playoff run to the big game, Mahomes and the Chiefs beat the Cleveland Browns—but, he sprained his big toe. And many believe the lingering turf toe injury contributed to his loss against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After that loss, Mahomes had surgery to repair his injury. Apparently, he also tore his plantar plate. (That’s the group of ligaments and two bones that keep his big toe stable.) Now, Mahomes’ injury was complicated and serious. Probably because he kept putting pressure on his toe after it was already sprained. But how do most people recover from a turf toe injury? Keep reading to find out how we treat this sports injury at your Spring and Tomball Tx podiatrists’ office.

Treating Turf Toe Injuries with Surgery

It’s actually fairly rare that a turf toe injury would send you to the operating room. But, it happens—especially if you’ve got other injuries, as Mahomes did. That’s particularly true if you tear a ligament. Or if you break your sesamoid bone. (That’s a bone that is contained in a tendon. You find sesamoid bones in joints all over your body. But, in your foot, there are two sesamoid bones. And they’re in the ball of your foot, right under your big toe joint. Which is why they make break with a turf toe injury.)

Now, if you need surgery to repair your big toe, don’t worry: you’re in good hands with our team. Just ask our patient Mariam D., who recently shared, “Dr. Bachmann was very informative and answered all of my questions about my bone spur removal and big toe joint replacement. To my delight there was never any pain from surgery or during recovery; I had delayed surgery for 12 years due to horror stories of intense foot pain. I highly recommend Dr. Bachmann and his staff’s expertise, knowledge and personal concern.”

Louetta Foot and Ankle’s Surgical Approach

But it’s also important to remember: not every case of turf toe requires surgical treatment. So, before we recommend treatment, we’ll do a careful evaluation, and present all your options. Like patient Louise B said after her recent visit, “Dr. Bachman was able to make me pain free in six weeks without surgery. I have callouses due to arthritis. He taught me what to do to keep them under control. I highly recommend Dr. Bachman.”

Of course, that’s our non-surgical treatment for callouses. And not for turf toe. So if you want to know your non-invasive turf-toe options, just keep reading!

Non-Surgical Turf Toe Treatments

When you don’t need surgery to heal your sprained toe, we have less invasive treatments that can help speed up recovery. First, like any sprain, we can put a splint on your big toe to reduce your pain and to keep it from moving.

In some cases, we can also tape your big toe, which will also keep it immobilized while your sprain heals. Then, in some cases, we can use special shoe inserts and orthotics in your shoe to keep your foot stable without keeping you from getting around. Finally, if pain and inflammation is keeping you from athletics after your injury, we can offer MLS laser therapy to reduce your pain and help you quickly get back in the game.

But remember: we can’t help you heal if we don’t see your injury. So, if you’ve been running, playing football or kicking the soccer ball, and your toe’s hurting, don’t wait around. Schedule an appointment right away: we’re here to offer pain relief and to ensure proper healing and a speedy recovery!