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Big Toe Joint Injury / “Turf Toe”

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March 31, 2024

What is Turf Toe?

big toe joint injury

The first big toe joint is a complicated structure, handling most of the weight and torque not only while running but also during bending and walking on hard floors. Similar to other metatarsal-phalangeal joints, it features a smooth cartilage interface and a large range of motion.

However, this joint is unique due to two bones underneath it known as ‘sesamoids’. The true “turf toe” definition involves the rupture of the ligaments at the bottom of this joint that keep these bones in place.

Once ruptured, the turf toe treatment can range from 4 weeks in a walking boot to 8 to 12 weeks following surgical repair. Turf toe symptoms include pain that ranges from dull to sharp, depending on the level of damage or injury to the joint.

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How We Treat Turf Toe Injury

Turf Toe

For those suffering from turf toe, we recommend trying out conservative treatment methods first. If these methods fail, we then suggest moving forward with our non-invasive turf toe surgery.

Conservative Turf Toe Treatments


A firmer shoe can relieve direct or indirect pressure and minimize movement of the big toe joint injury. Ensure the wear shoes has enough room at the end (the toebox), about the width of your thumb, and that the front of the shoe is high enough to allow your toes to move freely.

Arch Support:

Temporary arch supports and supportive athletic shoes will reduce pressure and pain at the big toe joint. Custom molded orthotics are the best solution for immediate and long-term turf toe treatment.


Over-the-counter padding can be applied on top or around the big toe joint to prevent pain with restrictive shoes.


Anti-inflammatories, both topical and oral, may help with chronic pain. Injection therapy is most effective for the acute pain associated with turf toe occurs.

Surgical Treatment for Turf Toe

Surgical treatment options for a severe or chronic painful turf toe can vary. A simple soft tissue capsule or ligament tear requires a non-weight bearing status for 3 to 4 weeks, partial weight bearing in a walking cast boot with support 4 to 6 weeks, and full weight bearing with physical therapist 6 to 8 weeks. Sesamoid bone involvement can require fixation or removal of the bone(s), with full recovery taking up to 12 weeks.

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Insurance Coverage for Big Toe Joint Injury / “Turf Toe”

Navigating insurance coverage for Big Toe Joint Injury or "Turf Toe" is streamlined at Modern Foot & Ankle, as we're in network with all major insurance providers.

Our team is dedicated to collaborating with these companies to ensure you receive the coverage you need for your treatment. To see the extensive list of plans we work with, we invite you to visit our insurance page.

We'll work closely with your insurance provider to maximize your benefits, ensuring you're fully covered as our priority is to make the insurance process as smooth as possible, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery with peace of mind.

Why Choose Us For Your Care to Modern Foot & Ankle

When it comes to addressing turf toe injuries and other foot-related conditions, selecting the right healthcare provider is of the utmost importance. At Modern Foot & Ankle, we stand out with our cutting-edge treatment methodologies and a deeply ingrained patient-first ethos.

Unparalleled Expertise in Surf Toe

Our clinic is renowned for its deep specialization in turf toe diagnosed and managing foot and ankle ailments. Our medical professionals possess a profound understanding of turf toe complexities, ensuring that every patient receives expert care tailored to their specific condition.

A Spectrum of Advanced Treatment Modalities

We take pride in offering an extensive array of treatment options, ranging from non-invasive physical therapy sessions and bespoke orthotic solutions to pioneering surgical interventions. This ensures a holistic approach to each patient’s recovery, catering to their individual health needs and preferences.

Harnessing the Latest in Medical Innovations

At Modern Foot & Ankle, we are at the forefront of adopting the newest medical technologies. This commitment enables us to diagnose and treating turf toe with unparalleled precision, significantly improving turf toe recovery time and patient outcomes.

Tailored Therapeutic Strategies for Every Patient

Recognizing the unique nature of each injured foot, we craft personalized treatment plans. This bespoke approach guarantees that our care pathways align perfectly with the specific recovery goals and lifestyle considerations of our patients.

Empowering Patients Through Education

We believe in the power of education to prevent future injuries. Our comprehensive resources and expert advice on optimal footwear and foot care practices empower our patients to take proactive steps in preventing turf toe and other foot conditions.

Open Lines of Communication and Easy Accessibility

Communication is the cornerstone of our patient care philosophy. We ensure seamless accessibility and clear, open lines of dialogue, allowing for immediate and insightful responses to any queries or concerns our patients may have.

In Summary

  1. Turf toe is a significant big toe joint injury typically occurring in athletes or individuals engaging in activities on artificial turf. The condition arises from the rupture of ligaments at the bottom of the metatarsophalangeal joint, leading to pain and restricted range of motion.
  2. Treatment varies from conservative measures, such as wearing shoes with proper support and utilizing a walking boot, to more advanced options like surgery, depending on the injury's severity.
  3. Common Turf toe symptoms often include sharp or dull pain, which necessitates professional evaluation to diagnose turf toe accurately. Most turf toe injuries benefit from early intervention, highlighting the importance of seeking medical advice upon experiencing symptoms of turf toe.
  4. At Modern Foot & Ankle, we are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of care, from diagnosed turf toe and treating to offering surgical solutions when necessary.
  5. Our approach combines expertise, personalized treatment plans, and a commitment to patient education, ensuring those we serve not only recover from their current injuries but also possess the knowledge to prevent turf toe and other foot-related injuries in the future.

The information on our website is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. For any health-related concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional. Please note that any reliance on the information found on our site is solely at your own risk. For more details, please see our Medical Disclaimer.


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Is turf toe a serious injury?

Yes, turf toe is a serious injury if the plantar plate or sesamoids are injured. The big toe joint manages most of the pressure, including the ‘push off’ propulsion force of the foot during normal walking and the exponential force during running.

When should I see a doctor for turf toe?

You should see a doctor for turf toe for persistent pain, swelling, and to rule out serious injuries like a sesamoid fracture.

Should you stretch your turf toe?

You should stretch a turf toe if it is either healed or close to being healed. The fibrous tissue at the bottom of the big toe joint can contract during or after healing. Stretching the big toe upwards (dorsiflexion) to the point of tension or mild discomfort 4 to 6 weeks after injury can help maintain the range of motion and even prevent reinjury.

How long does turf toe last?

It takes 4 to 6 weeks for a big toe injury to heal if the patient remains partial or non-weight bearing in a walking boot.

What is the fastest way to cure turf toe?

The fastest way to cure turf toe is to stay non-weight bearing with crutches 3 to 4 weeks or until there is no pain with weight-bearing activities.

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Local Podiatrists specializing in Turf Toe

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Palm Beach
Portrait of Dr. Adam Siegel, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, specializing in sports medicine and diabetic limb salvage

Dr. Adam Siegel

His advanced training and diverse technology background equip him to provide top-tier care across a broad range of foot and ankle conditions.

Portrait of Dr. Michael Zuri, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, specializing in sports injuries and endoscopic plantar fasciotomies for heel pain

Dr. Michael Zuri

Renowned for treating sports injuries and heel pain, with a focus on diabetic foot care. His patient-centered approach ensures a positive care experience.

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Dr. Roma Patel

Her approach is rooted in compassion and personalized attention for each patient, embracing an individualized treatment plan for a broad range of foot and ankle conditions.

Headshot of Dr. Steven Baker, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, known for his expertise in orthotic management and sports injuries of the lower extremity

Dr. Steven Baker

Esteemed podiatrist with decades of experience, transitioning from surgery to non-surgical therapies. Known for his caring and friendly approach.

Close-up image of Dr. Jacob Huffman, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Orlando, known for his expertise in sports medicine and minimally-invasive surgeries

Dr. Jacob Huffman

Expert in sports medicine and minimally-invasive surgeries, with a distinct honor in clinical excellence. His knowledge-driven ideology ensures optimal patient outcomes.

Close-up image of Dr. Kyle Haverstrom, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, renowned for his expertise in minimally invasive procedures and sports medicine

Dr. Kyle Haverstrom

Highly skilled in minimally-invasive procedures, trauma, and sports medicine. Known for his strong surgical skills and talent for diabetic limb salvage.

Close-up image of Dr. Sagar Shah, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, known for his expertise in sports injuries and wound therapy

Dr. Sagar Shah

Expert in sports injuries, pediatric care, and wound therapy. Committed to advancing clinical expertise through understanding patient lifestyles and health.

Close-up image of Dr. Ryan Haaksma, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, recognized for his work in minimally-invasive procedures and diabetic limb salvage

Dr. Ryan Haaksma

Advanced training in minimally-invasive procedures and sports medicine. His dedication ensures new techniques in surgical intervention.

Close-up image of Dr. Tamara Nemeroff, a female Board Certified Podiatrist in Jupiter, recognized for her work in sports medicine and diabetic limb salvage
Palm Beach

Dr. Tamara Nemeroff

Skilled in sports medicine, diabetic limb salvage, and reconstructive surgery. Now accepting Patients at our Jupiter Location.

Headshot of Dr. Patrick Derby, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, specializing in reconstructive surgery and wound care

Dr. Patrick Derby

Skilled in reconstructive surgery and wound care, with a focus on diabetic limb salvage. His principle: making a uniquely positive impact on each patient.

Headshot of Dr. Todd Talbert, a male Board Certified Podiatrist in Orlando, known for his expertise in sports medicine and reconstructive foot and ankle surgery

Dr. Todd Talbert

Specializes in sports medicine, trauma, and reconstructive surgery. Known for compassionate care and training surgical residents in reconstructive surgery.

Portrait of Dr. Dean Sorrento, a male podiatrist in Orlando, recognized for his contributions to sports medicine and diabetic care.

Dr. Dean Sorrento

Excels in advanced nerve decompression and sports medicine. His teaching background enhances patient understanding and care.

Portrait of Dr. Vanisaben Patel, a female podiatrist in Orlando, known for her focus on pediatric podiatry and limb salvage.

Dr. Vanisaben Patel

Expertise in reconstructive surgery, sports medicine, and diabetic wound care. Her patient-centric, collaborative approach ensures optimal outcomes.

Portrait of Dr. Jalpen Patel, a male podiatrist in Orlando, specializing in minimally-invasive procedures and diabetic limb salvage.

Dr. Jalpen Patel

Dr. Patel's specialized training and patient-centered approach uniquely position him to offer exceptional care across a wide spectrum of foot and ankle conditions.

Image of Dr. Trevor Baddaloo, a Orlando, FL-based board-certified Podiatrist, recognized for his personalized care in sports medicine and minimally-invasive surgical techniques.

Dr. Trevor Baddaloo

Dr. Baddaloo is renowned for his holistic and patient-focused care, skilled in sports medicine, podiatric surgery, and ensuring optimal health outcomes.

Portrait of Dr. Donald Adamov, a board-certified Podiatric Surgeon in Spring Hill, celebrated for his innovative approach to minimally-invasive foot surgeries and expertise in diabetic foot care.

Dr. Donald Adamov

Skilled in minimally-invasive bunion correction and advanced wound care, he provides individualized treatment for all conditions to achieve the best outcome.

Portrait of Dr. Melissa Prutch, a female Board Certified Podiatrist in Tampa, specializing in surgery & limb salvage.

Dr. Melissa Prutch

Comprehensive expertise in podiatric surgery and wound care. Dedicated to a patient-first, holistic approach for superior health results.

Dr. Moore, a Spring, Texas-based board-certified Podiatrist, known for comprehensive care in all foot and ankle conditions with a focus on advanced surgical methods.

Dr. Robert J. Moore III

Wide-ranging expertise in foot and ankle care, with a focus on surgery and wound management. Committed to patient-centered, holistic care.

Portrait of Dr. Divyesh Mehta, a male podiatrist in Orlando, Florida, specializing in sports medicine and diabetic reconstruction.

Dr. Divyesh Mehta

Skilled in diabetic foot reconstruction and sports medicine through minimally-invasive procedures. His additional background in nursing provides supreme patient care.

Dr. Ivey, a male Podiatrist in Orlando, Florida, known for surgical expertise in lower extremity pathologies and sport medicine.

Dr. Jacob Ivey

Wide-ranging expertise in foot and ankle care, with a focus on sports medicine and reconstructive surgery. Dedicated to patient-focused care and tailored treatment plans.

Dr. Marquez, a female Orlando, Florida-based Podiatrist, known for reconstructive surgery in lower extremity pathologies and sport medicine.

Dr. Carolina Marquez

Treating a variety of foot and ankle concerns, with a focus on sports medicine and reconstructive surgery. Dedicated to patient-centric care and individualized treatment.

Dr. Huynh, a male Orlando, Texas-based Podiatrist, known for diabetic foot care, bunion procedures, hammertoe correction, and sport medicine.

Dr. Phi Huynh

Treating a variety of foot and ankle concerns, with a focus on diabetic care and cosmetic procedures. Committed to compassionate care and individualized care plans.

We are in-network with all major insurance plans.

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