Turf toe: Ligamentous injury of the first metatarsophalangeal joint

Lee R. Allen, Donald Flemming, Timothy G. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Injuries to the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the great toe have increased in incidence over the past thirty years following the introduction of artificial playing surfaces and the accompanying use of lighter footwear. Although most common in American football players, similar injuries can also occur in other sporting activities including soccer and dance, or following trauma to the great toe. The mechanism of injury is typically hyperextension of the MTP joint, but injuries have also been reported secondary to valgus or varus stress, or rarely as a result of hyperflexion injury (1,2). The abnormal forces applied to the first MTP joint at the time of injury, result in varying degrees of sprain or disruption of the supporting soft tissue structures, leading to the injury commonly referred to as turf toe. The extent of soft tissue disruption is influential in treatment planning and can be used to determine the prognosis for recovery. This report will review the anatomy of the first MTP join, followed by a discussion of the mechanism of injury and the typical clinical presentation of an individual with turf toe. Finally, the role of imaging including radiography and magnetic resonance imaging, and standard treatment options for turf toe will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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