The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

About Turf Toe Treatment

We don’t let turf toe slow down our New York athletes

NYC Podiatrists Specializing in Toe Injuries

Are you an amateur or professional athlete with pain and swelling in your big toe? Foot doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan and Westchester routinely treat athletes suffering from “turf toe.”

Come see our NYC foot doctors if you have toe pain or swelling that persists for more than a couple days. It is important that you have a toe injury evaluated by a professional to ensure that the sesamoid bones are not snapped or dislocated, which could lead to a non-healing fracture if left untreated.

What is Turf Toe?

The big toe plays a critical role in absorbing shock, stabilizing the arch in midstance, and propelling us forward in the takeoff phase of our gait. Athletes participating in sports like football, soccer, basketball, baseball, dance, yoga, and gymnastics are at increased risk for big toe injuries. Turf toe occurs when the toe is forcefully twisted or bent. The injury may involve broken bones or torn ligaments.

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How is Turf Toe Treated?

In the best case scenario, players with turf toe can return to play within a day or two. However, about half of athletes with turf toe will suffer residual pain, which is why professional care is so important.

The first 24 hours are crucial to quicken your recovery. Icing for 10 minutes every hour is an important at-home treatment, along with rest, anti-inflammatory medication, compression, and elevation.

Here are a few additional turf toe treatments we provide:

  • Diagnosis: Our NY sports medicine doctors can take diagnostic images of your toe to make sure you have not sustained a more serious injury.
  • Immobilization: Most patients with turf toe will receive special stiff-soled shoes, braces, or pads to limit movement of the great toe as it heals.
  • Advanced High-Tech Therapies: Our offices are also equipped to administer Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections, corticosteroid shots, and electrotherapy, which stimulates the body’s natural healing and gets you back to the sport you love much faster.
  • Physical Therapy: When physical therapy is needed, we’ll send you to one of our network of licensed therapists. They can teach you a toe-strengthening routine to get you back to peak performance and limit the risk of future injuries.
  • Surgery: In rare instances, broken bone fragments must be surgically removed and cartilage must be repaired before natural healing will occur.

What is the Prognosis for Turf Toe?

While we often see players return to the game much more quickly, true “turf toe” recovery takes six to eight weeks. Our primary goals are to address your acute pain immediately and get you back to the field as quickly – and safely – as possible.

We have also seen many athletes have to end their careers as a result of continuing to play on hurt toes. For instance, Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden (Ravens offensive tackle, 1996-2007) received painkiller shots to keep competing, but ultimately caused an early end to his NFL career. Four-time Super Bowl champion Jack Lambert (Pittsburgh Steelers defensive linebacker, 1974-1984) also saw his career end prematurely due to recurring big toe problems.

Long-term complications of untreated turf toe include arthritis-like pain and limited mobility. So book an appointment to be seen by a turf toe specialist in New York today. Our doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan at our 10128 location and Westchester at our 10601 location will make sure your turf toe is properly treated.