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Corey Stokes & Turf Toe: Medical Speak

As you know, I am just a simple unfrozen caveman lawyer. When I hear talk of "turf toe" and other medical ailments, I never really know what the prognosis is. What is the likelihood that Corey Stokes can play through this injury? How can it be repaired?

VUhoops reached out to Dr. Nicholas Marini, B.S., D.C., to have him explain it all. Together with his father, Dr. Stephen C. Marini, M.S., D.C., Ph.D. (both Villanova Alums), he has provided chiropractic care to a number of athletes as well as Joe Schmoes like you and me. As he explains it:

"Turf toe" is a condition where the big toe is "bent back," in what is called a hyperextension or dorsiflexion injury. This causes strain in the bottom (plantar) portion of the joint capsule of the first metatarsalphalangeal joint (see diagram). It can be caused suddenly by falling or stubbing the toe, or it could be caused by repeated hyperextension from shoes that are too flexible.

Generally, when this is an acute injury, the conservative treatment is to rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE for short). Further treatment depends upon the severity of the injury. Turf toe injuries are classified into either Grade 1, 2, or 3; Grade 3 being the more severe. Generally, Grade 1 and 2 injuries can be managed easily with taping the toe to prevent any aggravating movements. Evaluation for more stable shoes and orthotics is called for as well. It is in these grades where chiropractic adjustments to the foot yield the most benefits. Examinations of the entire spine and lower extremity, including the pelvis/hip, knee, and foot/ankle, are prudent to evaluate the nervous system, biomechanics, balance, functional short legs, gait, etc. This is especially helpful in athletes, as integrity of the spine, nervous system, and lower extremities are essential for optimum athletic performance and prevention of further injury. Grade 3 injuries are more severe and may require long term immobilization and possible surgery.

Regarding recovery time, that depends upon the severity of the injury and the patients adherence to recovery measures. For Grades 1 and 2, normal recovery time ranges from 2-3 days to 1-2 weeks. Grade 3 injuries may need anywhere between 2-6 weeks for recovery if there is no surgical intervention.

If not properly treated or left untreated, the damage caused by Turf toe could lead to other conditions, such as joint degeneration, tearing of surround ligaments/tendons, and joint deformities.

So there you have it. 6 weeks of rest and recovery would essentially end Stokes' season, but a lower-grade injury could perhaps see him back in action much sooner.

Dr. Marini practices in King of Prussia, PA. If you'd like more information on his practice, please visit