Sprained toe is a very common sports injury and usually occurs as a result of stubbing the toe, landing clumsily or stopping abruptly. These motions put a huge amount of stress on the toe, causing some of the ligament tissue to tear.
The motions leading to sprained toe are associated with athletic activities, thus, anyone who regularly engages in sports such as basketball, rugby, lacrosse and soccer run a high risk of toe injury.
During these motions, a stretching or compression force is inflicted on the toe. It could damage the cartilage or the connective tissue surrounding the joint. By and large, the big toe is affected, particularly at the metatarsophalangeal joint.
What Are The Causes Of A Sprained Toe?
- Sprained toe develops due to a particular incident such as a hyper extension force (undue backward bending of the toe) or a hyper flexion force (too much forward bending of the toe).
- It may also occur in contact sports (because of a crash with another player), in kicking sports or in martial arts.
- Sporadically, a toe sprain may occur because of recurrent stress linked to overuse as seen in sports like athletics, gymnastics, and football.
Symptoms: The chief symptom of a sprained toe is pain. The pain may radiate from the affected toe through the whole foot, and may even move up the leg in case of severe case.
How To Treat A Sprained Toe?
- The first and foremost aspect of treatment is ice application. Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes 4 to 5 times a day. It helps allay pain, swelling and inflammation rapidly.
- Elevating your foot will assuage some of the pain, and will also stop the swelling.
- Talk to your doctor about starting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage excruciating pain.
- For pains that are bearable, ginger tea is recommended by most naturopaths. Ginger is loaded with gingerols which reduce swelling and inflammation quickly and thus mitigate the pain.
- Immobilizing and supporting the toe is very important. Tape the affected toe to the one adjacent to it; it provides immense support. Doctors also advise wearing stiff soled shoes that proffer extra cushioning and also reduce the chance of being left in a weak position during the process of healing.
- Sports physicians advocate air-casts which provide great support if you have to be active during the process of recovery.
A sprained toe heals fairly quickly. In case your home treatment fails to provide respite in a few weeks, visit your health care provider to confirm whether it is just a strain and nothing else.
Exercises For Sprained Toe
These exercises will help strengthen the toe joint and will expedite the healing, nonetheless, it is always advisable to confer with your health care provider and start physical therapy first. After a few sessions of physiotherapy, you may embark upon exercises at home.
- Up – down: Move your toe and the ankle up and down slowly and gently. Make 5 to 10 repetitions depending upon the severity of pain.
- In – out: Move the toe and the ankle inwards and then outwards. Make 5 to 10 repetitions.
- Circles: Rotate the toe and ankle gently clockwise and anti-clockwise. Make 5 to 10 repetitions.