MD Podiatrist Discuses “Turf Toe”

“Patrick Mahomes, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, first injured his toe against the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Rounds of the post-season. He did go on to play in the Super Bowl with a limp. A commonly misunderstood injury of the foot is ‘turf toe’. This condition is an acute, traumatic bursitis of the first toe-metatarsal joint associated with tendonitis. This condition is a common result of playing on artificial turf,” says Daniel Michaels, DPM.
“In Mahomes’ case, it was a more serious injury where there was a need for surgery to repair the injured toe. This is known medically as a plantar plate tear. During normal running conditions, the athlete uses his big toe in a gripping action to dig downward in order to propel him into a forward motion. However, on the artificial turf, he is unable to get that needed gripping action, thereby causing a sliding or displacement of the big toe-metatarsal joint. If this imbalance continues, it will cause undue stress to the first toe joint and can lead to greater imbalance on the first and second metatarsal bones at the midfoot articulation,” says Dr. Michaels.