Turf toe is a sprain of the base of the big toe where the big toe meets the foot. It is usually a hyperextension sprain of the first joint of the toe. A sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support a toe. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. The injury is called turf toe because it often occurs in football and soccer players when playing on artificial turf.

Turf Toe Swelling
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Turf toe occurs when the big toe is forced to extend beyond its normal range of motion. This can be caused by:

  • Standing on the balls of your feet as another person falls onto you, causing your big toe to become hyperextend
  • Stopping suddenly when running, causing your big toe to slide into the end of your shoe and bend up and backward as you go forward