Turf Toe

A sprained MTP (big toe) joint often presents as “turf toe” so-called due to injuries created through running on artificial surfaces. This type of sprain is caused by a sudden bending of the big toe joint in an upward direction. This movement results in damage to the ligament of the big toe, which connects it to the metatarsal bone.


Turf Toe got it’s name due to the fact that it occurs frequently in people who play games on artificial surfaces. The shoe grips hard on the surface and sticks causing bodyweight to go forward and so bending the toe up. It is also common in martial arts. You are more at risk if you have increased range of motion in the ankle and / or wear soft flexible shoes.

Medical Treatment

To treat Turf Toe, a foot doctor may:

  • X-ray to check for a fracture
  • Apply ultrasound or other electrotherapy treatment.
  • After 2 to 4 days the athlete may be able to weight bear again.
  • Tape the toe to prevent movement.
  • Advise on a rehabilitation and strengthening program.