Turf Toe: Recovery, Exercises, and Physical Therapy

foot stretch by PT

Managing Turf Toe With PT: Exercises, Recovery, and Prevention


Are you looking to find out more about how physical therapy can help with turf toe? Turf toe is a common type of sprain in the big toe joint, caused by hyperextension. Fortunately, physical therapy can play an important role in helping you recover from this injury and prevent reinjury. In this article, we will explain what to expect at your physical therapy sessions, the types of exercises you may be recommended to do, how long it takes to recover from this condition and ways physical therapy can help prevent reinjury.

What To Expect At Physical Therapy

When you first meet with your physical therapist, they will assess your level of pain, range of motion in the toe joint and any other impairments that may affect your mobility. Through this assessment, they will determine a personalized plan for you.

Then, your physical therapist may suggest therapeutic exercises to restore the range of motion in the toe joint and prevent further injury. In addition to therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques such as massage and stretching can help improve mobility. Your physical therapist may also provide guidance on lifestyle changes that could help your recovery, such as adjusting your footwear or activity levels.

What Types Of Exercises You Might Do

Depending on the severity of your condition, your physical therapist may recommend exercises to improve mobility and strengthen the toe joint. Some common exercises for turf toe include:

Toe Taps – This exercise involves tapping your toes against a wall or floor to mobilize the toe joint and increase flexibility.

Toe Abduction – With this exercise, you’ll use a resistance band to strengthen the muscles around the toe joint.

Toe Flexion – This exercise requires you to curl your toes towards the top of the foot, and then straighten them to mobilize and strengthen that area.

Ankle Pumps – You can do this exercise in sitting or standing, by bending and straightening your ankle several times to increase circulation and flexibility.

How Long Recovery Takes

The length of time it takes to recover from turf toe depends on the severity of your injury. A mild sprain may only require a few days to weeks for recovery, while more serious sprains may take up to three months before you can resume normal activity levels. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized plan that will help you reach your recovery goals in a timely manner.

How Physical Therapy Prevents Reinjury

Physical therapy is essential for preventing reinjury or complications from turf toe. An experienced physical therapist can provide advice on proper warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after activity, as well as adjusting footwear and activity levels to reduce stress on the affected joints. They can also provide advice about any exercises or activities that may put too much strain on your toe joint, and teach you how to modify them to prevent further injury.


Turf toe is a common sports injury, but with proper care and physical therapy, it can be managed effectively. Physical therapists are able to recommend exercises and activities that can help you strengthen the toe joint, as well as reduce inflammation to ensure a speedy recovery. These treatments are important in helping prevent reinjury, and with an experienced physical therapist by your side, you can get back to enjoying your favorite activities sooner than later.