What is turf toe?
Turf toe is a condition of pain at the base of the big toe, located at the ball of the foot. The condition is usually caused from either jamming the toe, or pushing off repeatedly when running or jumping. The most common complaint is pain at the base of the toe, but you may also have symptoms of stiffness and swelling.
The name turf toe comes from the fact that this injury is especially common among athletes who play on artificial turf. The hard surface of artificial turf, combined with running and jumping in football and soccer, make turf toe a frequent consequence of Astroturf play.

What happens to the toe in turf toe?
When a player sustains a turf toe injury they are actually tearing the capsule that surrounds the joint at the base of the toe.

Tearing this joint capsule can be extremely painful. Furthermore, tear of the joint capsule can lead to instability and even dislocation of the joint at the base of the toe. This may lead to accelerated cartilage wear and arthritis of the big toe (hallux rigidus).
What is the treatment of turf toe?
The diagnosis of turf toe is not difficult, but X-rays may be taken to ensure there is no fracture. Treatment of turf toe consists of resting the sore toe, icing the area, and elevating the foot; anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended by your doctor. Athletes diagnosed with turf toe should avoid their sport for about three weeks to allow the joint capsule to heal. Once returning to activities, special inserts can be used to limit the motion of the big toe and prevent further damage to the joint capsule.

Unfortunately, turf toe can return, and rehabilitation may be slow. Surgery is rarely needed for treatment of turf toe, but in certain cases it may be helpful. If a bone spur forms, and severely limits motion of the toe joint, surgery to remove the spur may be helpful.