University of Alabama’s sophomore point guard Justin Coleman continues to play through lingering pain in his right foot.  The Montgomery Advertiser reported on his battle with turf toe and what he did to help Tuscaloosa’s Crimson Tide win an overtime victory over Mississippi State. Coleman said, “It’s really about mental toughness, because with my foot it’s just about pain tolerance, so if I can deal with the pain I can play.”

Turf toe is a soft-tissue injury to the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint (big toe joint) causes by a forced hyperextension of the toe.  This excessive motion to the joint results in injury to the joint capsule and surrounding ligaments.  It is most common in sports played on synthetic surfaces leading to the name “turf toe.”  But, the condition can be seen in other sports or activities where hyperextention of the toe occurs.

Diagnosing turf toe is made by noting the history of foot activity and clinical examination.  X-rays and CT scans can reveal if the excessive pulling of surrounding ligaments has lead to a fracture.  MRI’s may be indicated if there is suspected tearing of the soft tissue structures surrounding the joint.  Surgery is rarely indicated unless a fracture has occurred.

Treatment typically starts with RICE which is the acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  After the acute stage of the injury, the affected joint can be taped to stabilize and heal it.  Long-term management include custom foot orthotics with a Morton’s extension to limit motion in the joint. You can read more on the research and treatment of turf toe injuries from Podiatry Today.

Justin Coleman’s success in the game was helped by resting his foot during the week in order to play in games.  As a result, he was able to seal the victory by hitting three 3-pointers, including one in overtime.  Alabama’s head coach Avery Johnson said Coleman’s production basically saved the Crimson Tide that game.

To save your feet from a sport injury that can become a chronic problem, remember to RICE.  If you live in the Tuscaloosa area and need foot care, we will be happy to help you stay in the game.  Dr. Rosemarie Caillier can provide custom foot orthotics with a Morton’s extension helpful for turf toe pain as well as arthritis pain in the big toe joint.  Our goal at Rosemarie Caillier, DPM, PC is to help keep you active and on your feet.

Photo Credit: Kent Gidley / Alabama Athletics