Tuesday, 30 January 2024 00:00

Causes and Symptoms of Turf Toe

Turf toe is a common injury that often strikes athletes such as football players, dancers and gymnasts, with a sudden and traumatic onset. Most recall the precise moment it occurred. Turf toe results in pain around the ball of the foot, particularly on the bottom of the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP, joint, just  below the big toe. Those experiencing turf toe may note pain with or without movement. It can be felt when the toe is flexed to the extreme or during the toe-off phase of walking. Swelling of the MTP joint may accompany the pain, along with a decrease in strength and range of motion. The affected joint also may become warm and tender to the touch. Turf toe can cause a noticeable lump or gap, and what is described as a crunchy feeling due to inflammation. Difficulty walking and maintaining balance can result from the pain and loss of function in the affected joints and surrounding tissues.  If you suspect a  turf toe injury, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an exam and accurate diagnosis. A tailored treatment plan can help you get back in the game.

Toe pain can disrupt your daily activities. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists of Ankle & Foot of Edmonds. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Causes Toe Pain?

Most severe toe pain is caused due to a sports injury, trauma from dropping something heavy on the toe, or bumping into something rigid. Other problems can develop over time for various reasons.

Toe pain can be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Trauma
  • Sports injury
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Corns and calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Sprains
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Dislocations

When to See a Podiatrist

  • Severe pain
  • Persistent pain that lasts more than a week
  • Signs of infection
  • Continued swelling
  • Pain that prevents walking


In many cases the cause of toe pain is obvious, but in others, a podiatrist may want to use more advanced methods to determine the problem. These can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatments for toe pain and injuries vary and may include shoe inserts, padding, taping, medicines, injections, and in some cases, surgery. If you believe that you have broken a toe, please see a podiatrist as soon as possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Edmonds, WA . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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