When it comes to turf toe, taping can provide both support and protection for the big toe ligaments. This hyperextension injury is common among athletes like football players and runners, occurring when an athlete pushes off on their toes to run or move in a way that the toe is pushed too far up; causing a sprain within the toe joint. Keep scrolling to learn the ins and outs of taping up to help prevent a turf toe injury.
Turf toe typically involves the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP joint). When the area around the MTP joint, called the plantar complex, is injured turf toe occurs. This plantar complex is made up of ligaments, tendons, and two small bones called the sesamoids.
Proper taping techniques for a turf toe injury can help:
When you tape your big toe and forefoot it is like you are placing a flexible splint on your foot. You will be able to move and have some movement within the big toe joint but it should prevent further injury and extension.
You should tape your toe and foot when you are playing sports that are commonly known to cause turf toe. These sports are football, running, and soccer. Any sport that requires you to quickly push-off your feet to run or move can cause this foot injury. Another time you should use turf toe taping is when you are playing on artificial turf or are wearing shoes that are flexible and don’t have significant forefoot support.
You should avoid using athletic or kinesiology tape:
If you have never used sports tape, test a small area on your skin to make sure you aren’t sensitive to the adhesive.
There are two popular types of tape used for athletes and athletic-related injuries. Kinesiology tape and athletic tape. Both types of tape have their own pros and cons.
Kinesio tape is flexible, breathable, and can be worn for several days in a row. The tape moves with the user and works by slightly tugging at the skin to improve lymphatic and blood circulation which increases your proprioception (body awareness). The downside to kinesiology tape is that it doesn’t restrict your range of motion and your toe can still become hyperextended.
This tape (more specifically zinc oxide tape) is a rigid tape that almost completely restricts joint movement when applied correctly. For turf toe, that’s exactly what you want. You want to prevent your MTP joint from bending upward. The cons are that it isn’t breathable, flexible, and does not hold up well to moisture, but ultimately, the benefits outweigh the cons and we recommend using zinc oxide tape for turf toe.
Taping yourself after an injury can be tricky. If you have trouble don’t hesitate to reach out to a sports medicine specialist. Here’s our recommended go-to taping technique using athletic tape.
To provide extra security for your tape, use an elastic wrap around the tape to keep it secure.
Overall, both types of tape can provide benefits to turf toe, but the one you chose to use should be based on your individual needs and stage of recovery. For athletes who are currently active in their sport, athletic tape may be the better option. While those recovering from turf toe should wear kinesiology tape during the rehab process.
Here are our best tips for taping your toe with either type of tape:
Taping and bracing for turf toe are two very different treatments but both have their place in joint injury recovery.
With taping (regardless of kinesiology or athletic tape) complete immobilizing of the joint is difficult to achieve. You can always expect some range of motion. It’s a great option for athletes that want to continue playing sports while supporting their injury and is less obtrusive than a brace. If you have a severe turf toe injury, taping may not be the best option for you.
A toe brace or splint provides complete immobilization of the great toe joint. You can easily put the brace on and take it off without worrying about adhesive sticking or getting it wet as you do with tape, but won’t usually fit comfortably inside cleats or running shoes. If you have a significant injury then a brace is likely the best option for you during the recovery phase.
Toe pain caused by a turf toe injury can sideline anyone. Treatment should begin with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. When you get your doctor’s OK to start playing sports use tape to give your toe joint some added support. Taping can help prevent additional injury and allow your toe to heal while you are still having fun on the field. Always talk to your doctor or consider physical therapy before you begin treatment for any new injury.
Sources:Turf Toe Products