Turf toe: Anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment

Jeremy J. McCormick, Robert B. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Context: 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. Evidence Acquisition: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalSports Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Hallux
  • Injury
  • Plantar plate
  • Turf toe


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