Turf Toe Troubles for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Stephen D. Lasday, DPM Podiatrist Sarasota and Bradenton

Football season is here!

Heinz Field

Well, football season is underway and I have my terrible towel and yellow jersey neatly laid out ready to cheer on my Steelers. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I look forward to a great season ahead.

Injuries are always a concern though and this week the Steelers are already reporting their fair share of them. According to the NFL Injury Report, running back, Jonathon Dwyer, is suffering from a Metatarsophalangeal joint sprain—more commonly known as Turf Toe.

What is Turf Toe?

Turf toe is an  injury to the joint at the base of the big toe when an athlete jams his toe into the ground or bends his toe backward, beyond its normal range of movement. The toe is hyperextended and the joint is injured.

The injury often occurs on a grass or artificial turf. (This is where the name “turf toe” comes from!) Football players are particularly prone to “turf toe.”  Additionally, athletic shoes with very flexible soles combined with cleats that “grab” the ground can cause overextension of the big toe. This injury can also happen to the other smaller toes as well, although it is not as common.

Treatment Options

Rest, Ice, Compression, ElevationThe immediate treatment of turf toe is to control the swelling and decrease the  inflammation of the toe joint. The RICE treatment  (rest, ice, compression, elevation) along with anti-inflammatory medications is a good place to start. The athlete must also rest the sore toe to allow the joint to heal properly. It can become a chronic problem if not treated effectively. The toe may also be prone to arthritis in the future.

Stiff-soled shoes during the recovery process is a good way to prevent too much flexion in the joint. Another option is wearing specially-designed inserts in your shoes, or straps.  Pro athletes often wear a shoe with a steel plate or have their toes taped to keep it from bending too far backward.

It looks like the Steelers running back will be able to play this weekend against Oakland. Hopefully he has been resting that injured toe and has it taped well for the game.

If you are looking for a podiatrist in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Lasday right away for a thorough and professional evaluation, either in his Bradenton Podiatry office or Sarasota Podiatry office.