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    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Turf Toe Plaguing Smith

    Most observers admit that Antone Smith is not performing as most had predicted in preseason. His turf toe injury has been said to be the major reason why he has not put up the numbers that most fans had anticipated.

    So what is turf toe?

    Turf toe is really a bruise that occurs at the base of the big toe at the joint called the metatarsal phalangeal joint. It usually occurs when the toe is jammed forcibly into the ground or, more commonly, when the toe is bent backward too far and it goes beyond where it should go. It causes significant pain and swelling at the base of the big toe. It can be a significant problem because players use the toe when they run and plant and push off.

    Once it happens the first time, the joint becomes a little bit stiffer and can get a little arthritic, which means your motion and mobility is less. It will take less of a force or bending of the toe next time to produce the pain. As the condition worsens, mobility is even further limited so that any bending of the big toe can cause a great deal of pain. This is one of the main reasons why turf toe can knock you out for a long period of time.

    So how is turf toe treated?

    Generally, the toe is iced and elevated and the patient is started on anti-inflammatory medication, and then usually devices are used to stiffen the shoe or to prevent the toe from being bent back further. Steel plates are put inside the shoes and trainers will tape the toe in a position that will keep it from bending too far backward.

    When turf toe flares up, the RICE treatment is effective -- rest, ice, compression and elevation -- and sometimes a cortisone shot will help, but the main thing is to prevent the injury from happening again through the taping or with steel-plate shoe inserts.

    How long does it take to recover from turf toe?

    Depending on how bad the condition is, it can take three to four weeks to recover from turf toe. As a general rule, the more severe the injury, the longer it will take to recover.

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