Turf toe is a common sports-related injury that affects the base of the big toe joint. It occurs when the toe is forcefully bent or hyperextended, usually due to activities on artificial turf surfaces, hence the name "turf toe." This condition primarily affects athletes who engage in sports that involve running, jumping, and abrupt changes in direction, such as football, soccer, basketball, and track and field.

The injury is caused by the excessive stretching of the ligaments surrounding the big toe joint, leading to sprain or tear. The symptoms of turf toe include pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected area. The pain may worsen when the toe is bent or during athletic activities, making it challenging for the athlete to perform at their full potential.

Turf Toe Severity Categories

  1. Mild sprain, with minimal stretching or tearing of the ligaments.
  2. Moderate sprain, with partial tearing of the ligaments and increased instability in the joint.
  3. Severe sprain, with complete tearing of the ligaments, significant instability, and considerable pain and swelling.

Treatment for Turf Toe

  1. Giving the injured toe time to heal and avoiding activities that aggravate the condition.
  2. Applying ice packs to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  3. Using bandages or wraps to provide support and control swelling.
  4. Keeping the foot elevated to reduce swelling.
  5. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used to manage discomfort.
  6. Sometimes, the toe may need to be immobilized with a splint or brace to promote healing.
  7. Exercises and stretches may be recommended to strengthen the toe and surrounding muscles.
  8. Wearing shoes with a stiff sole or a special insert can help protect the toe during recovery.
  9. Athletes should slowly resume their sports activities once the toe has healed sufficiently.

It's essential to seek medical attention promptly after sustaining a turf toe injury to ensure proper diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Early intervention can prevent long-term complications and help athletes return to their sports activities as quickly and safely as possible.

KT Tape for Turf Toe Video Summary

"Turf toe” is pain at the base or underside of the big toe. Some causes of this may be by overuse, running on hard surfaces, or constant over-extension of the toe from kneeling. KT Tape helps treat this condition by providing stability and support while maintaining range of motion.

For this application we are going to place the toe in an extension or dorsiflexion and that's bringing the toe towards the shin as much as is comfortable. And for our first full strip, we are going to turn this into two long strips we are going to cut right down the middle of the tape. We are going to take one of those and we need to produce about a third of a piece here so we are just going to cut the short piece off the end. Ok, we are going to round the corners, just rounding the corners helps smooth out the corners obviously so it doesn't get caught on clothing such as taking socks or shoes off We are going to twist and tear the paper backing and peel that backing being very careful not to touch the adhesive. We are going to handle it with just the paper, we are going to run this right between the toes, we are going to place this on eighty percent stretch, so if you stretch it all the way out and then back of just a little bit and put that just under the big toe, on that tendon. We are going to pinch off that on the sides of the big toe, and we're going to lay down the tails with absolutely zero stretch. Same on both sides.

Great, that's just so you don't create a tourniquet around the toe. Give it a good friction rub just to make sure it is adhering very well. We are going to take our remaining piece. We are going to round the corners, again it just helps prevent the tape from getting caught on clothing. We're going to twist and tear, one end You're going to measure this back so the anchor point ends up just slightly behind the heel. Great! Now we're going to peel that paper backing off Leaving a little paper on there just to handle and we're going to apply this with absolutely zero stretch right through the arch on the underside of the foot.

Right when we get to the back of the big toe, we are going to apply ten percent stretch, and then ease off the very end of it and lay that last bit down with absolutely zero stretch. Where the tape crosses over that first piece, we are going to it a really good friction rub just to make sure that's adhering well, as well as through the arch, get that to stick very well So creating a little friction, some heat, gets that adhesive to activate and really stick to the skin. 


  • "Turf toe" refers to pain at the base or underside of the big toe, often caused by overuse, running on hard surfaces, or constant over-extension of the toe from kneeling.
  • KT Tape provides stability, support, and maintains range of motion for treating turf toe.
  • The tape application involves placing the toe in dorsiflexion (bringing the toe towards the shin), using two long strips of tape, with rounded corners to prevent catching on clothing.
  • The first strip is applied under the big toe with 80% stretch, while the second strip is applied with zero stretch through the arch, crossing over the first strip with a friction rub for better adherence.
  • Additional tips include cleaning and drying the skin before applying, pressing the tape well at the joint, considering complementary treatments like rest, ice, and a change of footwear, and seeking medical care for severe pain, swelling, or bruising.