Common foot problems can plague any of us, even elite athletes. For example, our beloved Florida Gators faced a tough Alabama Crimson Tide team on Oct 1st 2011 and were beaten badly. One Alabama player that they didn’t have to contend with though was 5’10” 220 pound running back Eddie Lacey. The week prior, Lacey was sidelined with a painful and somewhat common foot injury known as Turf Toe. As strong and as fast as Lacey is, he was stopped in his tracks by this painful injury that affected only his big toe.
What Kind of Foot Injury is Turf Toe?
Turf toe is essentially a ligament sprain. It occurs when the big toe is bent back forcefully or jammed in a way that stretches tendons. It can also occur when athletes perform high intensity exercises like sprinting or jumping. When you walk, run or jump you push off with your toes and drive your body weight forward. The bones in your big toes and their supporting ligaments bear the most weight and pivot as you shift your weight. If you hyperextend those ligaments with enough force, you can injure them and that injury is Turf Toe.
Symptoms of Turf Toe
People suffering from turf toe generally have an inability to put any weight down on the front of the injured foot. Specifically, they experience difficulties with pushing off or applying pressure with their big toe. This painful foot injury is usually accompanied by swelling and bruising and will exhibit tenderness in the area of the big toe. This of course, limits the range of movement and makes this one of the most dreaded foot injuries within organized competitive sports.
Common treatments for Turf Toe includes the familiar acronym R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and can include mild pain medications. Avoid placing weight on the injured foot and in severe cases, surgery might be required to repair the ligament damage.
Good News for Eddie Lacey was that he recovered and was back to full speed this year. He will play an important role in the upcoming BCS championship game and Notre Dame will have to find another way to stop Alabama’s premiere running back.
Got Questions about a painful foot problem?
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.