Phone: 973-940-3166
Fax: 973-940-3170
Billing: 570-386-2366

Turf Toe Among Athletes


Dr. Kevin White meets with athletes for turf toe treatment fairly regularly at Specialty Surgery Center. This isn’t surprising considering turf toe is caused by hyperextension of the foot. While this can happen to anyone, it occurs more often in athletes who repeatedly push off the ground.

Football – Football is where turf toe got its name. Many football stadiums have made the switch to artificial turf from natural grass. As a result, players are starting to injure their big toes more because the playing surface is harder with less cushion for impact. For this reason, the Specialty Surgical Center staff recommends football players wear supportive shoes that can help absorb shock.

Runners – Runners are especially prone to turf toe due to their famous runner’s stance. Before taking off on a sprint, runners generally get into a crouched position with their back knee low to the ground and their foot hyperextended behind them. While this is a great stance to gain momentum, it puts a lot of pressure on the MTP joint and plantar plate.

Dancers – Dancers showcase their talent by leaping into the air and dancing through a beautiful performance. Unfortunately, pointe ballet shoes and ballerina flats do not offer a large cushion for the feet, making them prone to turf toe. In fact, we see turf toe occur in many sports that require flexible shoes. Dancers should consider their risk of developing turf toe if their style of dance involves putting most of their weight on the ball of their foot.

Many other athletes practicing sports like basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and others that involve running or jumping are at risk of developing turf toe. If athletes suddenly feel pain after a jump or run and have consistent pain and swelling afterward, we strongly encourage them to visit our podiatrist for X-rays and treatment. Turf toe is graded on a 1-3 scale in terms of severity, and mobility may be compromised if patients wait until they are at grade 2 or 3.

Dr. Kevin White is an expert in treating turf toe. He can repair a torn plantar complex or bone fracture within the foot using minimally invasive surgery. With a reduced recovery time compared to traditional surgery, your athlete will be back to their sport in no time!

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.