If you have been playing soccer for a while, you may have suffered from a soccer or turf toe. You know how much it hurts.
Soccer toe, or turf toe, are terms used to describe sprained ligaments, or severely bruised toes, which can be caused by;
- Repeated impacts on the toe by the soccer ball.
- Ligament contortions that are sustained during a game.
- Wearing the wrong kind of shoes, especially those that are too tight.
- Untreated tender toes.
- Falling into the field
- Constantly running in the field.
A turf toe will occur if the contortions of the ligaments found behind the player’s big toe are hyper-extended. It is one of the most painful injuries for a soccer player, but, it is also one of the easiest to prevent and treat.
As a soccer player, you can choose to use a soccer toe guard to help protect your toes from soccer toe injury. It is simply a toe cap that is put on the big toe, and helps protect your toe from having direct contact with the inside of your shoe. This also ensures that you do not hit the ball with your unprotected toe.
How to treat soccer toe:
The initial care is the use of Ice cubes and elevation of the toe, but long-term care will require the player to alter their footwear, the field where they play soccer, and even the game habits they employ during soccer games.
After the injury has occurred, you need to rest. Soccer toe’s first symptoms are pain, limited movement, and swelling. It is important to rest the area that is injured, in order to prevent it from getting worse.
In this way, the body will also begin to heal. When you get home, ensure to elevate the injured leg.
Use some ice packs:
Apply some ice packs on the injured toe immediately, as this will help moderate blood flow on the area and it will also reduce the swelling by constructing the damaged blood vessels. Ensure to keep applying ice on the area, several times a day for 15-20 minutes.
The player at this time should ensure to be off the foot and if possible use crutches.
Apply a heat wrap on the injured leg:
After the initial use of the ice pack, now you need to switch gears and start using a warm wrap. This heat pack will be able to dilate the blood vessels and allow blood to rush back to the area. This will encourage the healing process.
Allow 40 minutes to elapse then use the ice pack again in order to prevent the swelling. Repeat this process of ice and heat therapy for a couple of hours. As much as the heating step is optional, it helps to reduce pain.
Tape or bind the injured leg:
The adhesive athletic tape is normally for this purpose, so, use it. You can easily find it at the pharmacy or at an athletics-equipment shop. Wrap the tape tight enough around the injured area of the foot, but, be careful not to hurt yourself by making it too tight. If it is too tight, it will restrict blood flow and cause pain.
Compression is very important when treating soccer toe as it will limit further swelling, and provide support on the injured ligament, plus, it will ensure no more pressure is applied to the toe.
Other steps will include;
- Administering an over the counter painkiller such as ibuprofen.
- After the injury, wear a boot, or a stiff-soled shoe. This will prevent the toe from bending unnecessarily.
- Take some time off – like three weeks off.
- If symptoms persist, visit your doctor.
Soccer toe may be common among players, but there are ways you can ensure to safeguard your toe against it which includes;
- Wearing shoes that fit properly
- Exercising caution when playing
- Treating soccer toe with the seriousness it deserves
- Ensuring your toes are always protected as you play