November 1st, 2010 , Sports Health

Turf toe: anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment 


Despite an increasing awareness of turf toe injury, confusion still exists regarding the anatomy, mechanism, diagnosis, and treatment of this hyperextension injury to the hallux metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint.


This article reviews the anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment algorithm for turf toe injury by reviewing relevant studies and presenting information useful to clinicians, therapists, and athletic trainers. A literature search was performed by a review of PubMed and OVID articles published from 1976 to July 2010.


Grade I injury is a sprain or attenuation of the plantar capsular ligamentous complex of the hallux MTP joint; athletes are typically able to return to play as tolerated. Grade II injury is a partial rupture of the plantar soft tissue structures of the hallux MTP joint, typically requiring about 2 weeks to recover. Grade III injury is a complete rupture of the plantar structures of the hallux MTP joint, requiring at least 10 to 16 weeks to recover. Some complete ruptures require surgical repair.


With accurate diagnosis, athletes can have an appropriate treatment plan, and their expectations can be tempered to the degree of injury. Careful management may allow successful return to play at a preinjury level of participation.