Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Marco Bitran: Turf Toe and Tennis Toe


There are twenty-six bones in the foot, with fourteen of them, in the toes. The purpose, especially the "big" toe, is to help us move and to balance. When you play sports, a damage to the foot, affects the toes, causing injuries, such as "tennis toe" and "turf toe." The difference between these two very common injuries is defined as:

Tennis toe is medically known as "subungual hematomas." It occurs from the rapid changes of direction that takes place in tennis. The running causes your toe to push against the top of your shoes, which can injure the area underneath your toenail. With this type of constant pressure, it can cause your toe to become sore and painful. It is more commonly associated with tennis, but can also affect other types of athletes.

A "metatarsophalangeal" joint sprain is an injury to the joint and connective tissue between the foot and one of the toes, usually the big toe and is called "turf toe". This occurs when athletes of all levels or weekend warriors, consistently play on artificial turf, thus its name. This condition can occur if the toe is required to bend too far or too far down, as in starting and stopping quickly, jamming the big toe up against the top of a shoe. This type of motion will weaken the ligaments and joints that protects the toes.

Both of these injuries have a huge effect on tennis athletes and other sports, including:

• soccer, football and basketball
• squash and racquet ball
• gymnasts and dancers
• runners and skiers

The rapid paced, back and forth motions, that are typical in playing tennis, places a huge sprain on the toes, especially when the well-trained athletes are using their big toe to push off and change directions, leading to fractures or of course tennis toe and turf toe.


Tennis Toe: pain; its appearance is a blue/black discoloration of the nail; the toe nail may become thickened and brittle. Tennis toe affects mainly the big toe, but rarely, it can affect the other toes.

Turf Toe: pain at the base of the big toe and swelling. The symptoms are gradual, but the injury will rapidly become worse, to the point where people can feel a popping in their toe, leaving a loss of movement.

Tennis champions like Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal, who are both Grand Slam winners, U.S. Open winners, and much more, have suffered tennis toe and/or turf toe, because they have played often on different surfaces, like a hard court or asphalt, grass, and clay. The United States Tennis Association offers the following helpful hints in preventing both conditions:

• wear properly fitted shoes with a one-inch clearance between the tip of the toes and the shoe;
• leave slack in your socks near the top, so that the sock does not place friction pressure on the top of the toes and toenails; and
• keep your toenails trimmed low.

Learn more about Tennis Elbow: http://dontforgetyourballs.blogspot.com/2015/05/tenniselbow-introduction-background.html

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