Turf Toe

September 19, 2013
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Football season is finally here!  Players from all around the country have been practicing in preparation, and are hoping to make it their best season yet.  Whether it is the NFL, college level, or the local high school; fans have high hopes and can’t wait to get out to support the team.


In football, we regularly hear about knee, ankle, and leg injuries, as well as something called “turf toe.”  Although “turf toe” can happen in runners, dancers, or other athletes; it is most commonly seen in football injuries.


As you walk, right before your foot lifts off of the ground to take a step, all of your bodyweight transfers forward onto the ball of your foot.  Then, you push off of your big toe, and weight is transferred to the other foot.  In a “turf toe” injury, as the athlete begins to push off, something happens that causes the big toe to stay flat on the ground instead of gradually lifting forward.  This can happen when a player is tackled, is playing on artificial turf (because it is harder than actual ground and doesn’t adapt to a person’s weight,) or is forcefully pushing off from a still position.  The joint around the big toe and its ligaments are injured, causing pain, swelling, and decreased movement.


“Turf toe” is a serious injury.  Throughout the years, it has sidelined many players:


1984:  Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers

1998:  ‘Prime Time’ Deion Sanders of the Dallas Cowboys

1999:  Steve ‘Air’ McNair of the Tennessee Titans

2000:  Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders

2008:  Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers

2008:  Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders

2008:  LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers

2008:  Jonathan Ogden retires from the Baltimore Ravens because of his injury

2009:  Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

2011:  Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens


These sorts of injuries can happen to anyone.  They aren’t just limited to the pros and they don’t only happen in football.  If you think that you or a loved one has suffered a “turf toe” injury, make an appointment at our new St. Elmo location in Chattanooga, TN with Dr. Wilkins.


By:  Kimberly Wilkins

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