How to Treat Bunion

Turf Toe vs. Bunion

Table of Contents

There are many similar foot deformities that people often confuse – for example, turf toe and bunions are often thought to be the same thing, but they aren’t. So, what’s the difference between turf toe vs. bunion? If you want to learn a bit about these two conditions, their symptoms, and treatment, this is a text for you – keep reading. 

FeatureTurf ToeBunion
DefinitionSprain of the big toe jointBony bump at the base of the big toe
CauseSudden upward bending of the big toeProlonged pressure, tight shoes, genetics
SymptomsPain, swelling, limited joint motionPain, swelling, redness, deformity
OnsetUsually acute (after injury)Gradual (develops over time)
Common inAthletes, particularly in field sportsWomen, older individuals, those with arthritis or foot deformities
DiagnosisPhysical examination, X-raysPhysical examination, X-rays
TreatmentRest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), pain relievers, immobilizationWider shoes, padding, ice, pain relievers, orthotics, surgery in severe cases
PreventionProper footwear, conditioning, avoiding excessive strain on the big toe jointProper footwear, orthotics, maintaining a healthy weight

What Is a Turf Toe?

Turf toe is a big toe joint injury that commonly occurs in sports when the big toe is pressed hard to the ground and bent at a 90-degree angle. This can happen when a person sprints or jumps too suddenly – they bend the toe too far, which results in trauma to the tissue. Turf toe is essentially stretching or tearing of the soft tissue, ligaments, and tendons that surround the big toe joint. It can happen to anyone, not just athletes – and it can occur on both turf and flat surfaces. 

The trauma can occur immediately after an injury, or it can be a result of repetitive injuries. If turf toe symptoms show immediately after an injury, the pain occurs pretty fast – you may even hear or feel a slight “pop” when you hurt your foot. Pain can be constant or just occasional when you put pressure on the toe. Other common symptoms include bruising, tenderness, and swelling. The joint can feel loose or stiff – it depends from case to case. 

How to Treat It?

Turf toe is usually quite simple to treat, and it will most likely go away over time with rest, pain medication, elevating the foot, and ice packs. Your doctor will advise you against weight-bearing for a certain amount of time – this depends on the severity of the injury, and it can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. 

For pain management, your doctor will prescribe you NSAIDs, which are over-the-counter pain medications. If the injury is a bit more severe, you can benefit from physical therapy and custom-made orthotics. Worst-case scenario – you might need surgery to fix the issue. It all depends on the severity of the case – your doctor will inform you about everything you need to know. 

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion, or hallux valgus, is a common foot deformity that occurs as a result of an irregular alignment of the first metatarsal bone. This means that the first metatarsal bone shifts inwards, and the big toe points outwards (it can even cross over the second toe in severe cases). The result of this is a bony bump on the inside of the foot. 

Bunions are painful and unpleasant – they become more and more severe over time, which is why they need to be treated as soon as possible. The big toe joint can be swollen and red as well. A bunion deformity is usually a result of wearing uncomfortable shoes for many years – heels are the best example. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that most patients with bunions are women. Sometimes, this condition can occur due to various genetic factors. 

How to Treat It?

How do we treat bunions? While there are certain non-surgical methods that can bring modest results, if you want to permanently get rid of this deformity, you will need surgery. The type of bunion surgery that a patient requires depends on the severity of the case and the presence of any underlying conditions. The most commonly performed procedures are bone shaving, osteotomy, and bone fusion.

How to Pick the Right Procedure?

When determining a type of treatment for any of these two conditions, the most important thing is proper evaluation of the case and physical examination. Imaging techniques such as X-rays and MRIs can also help your doctor determine the right diagnosis and decide on the best course of action. If the surgery is the way to go, your doctor will carefully evaluate all the factors regarding your condition and decide which surgical technique is the right fit. 

What Should You Expect From the Recovery Process?

If you have minimally invasive surgery, you can expect a quick and smooth recovery process. When we’re talking about bunion surgery, the time to fully heal is anywhere from six weeks to three months – which is pretty quick compared to traditional surgery. The success rates are excellent – 95% of cases are successful. 

Consult With a Surgeon in Miami Before the Operation

Before you undergo any type of surgical procedure, you will need to consult with a specialist. If you’re looking for more information on the differences between bunion vs. turf toe, your specific condition, and treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. Our team at Luxe Foot Surgery clinic is always here for you – let our doctor help you feel better. Hurry up and schedule your free consultation today – you can do this via an inquiry form on our website or simply by calling our office. 


Does Turf Toe Look Like a Bunion?

The turf toe doesn’t look like a bunion. While a bunion is a bony protrusion of the foot, a turf toe is a result of an injury, and it can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and a feeling of looseness in the big toe joint. 

How Can You Tell if You Have Turf Toe?

Turf toe usually occurs after an injury – a patient might feel or hear a “pop” when they injure the joint. This injury is essentially tearing or stretching of the soft tissue around the big toe joint. The symptoms include pain (constant or just on pressure), bruising, tenderness, and swelling. The joint might be loose, or the motion might be limited. 

Does Turf Toe Ever Heal?

Yes, turf toe usually gets better with pain medication, rest, and ice packs. Only severe cases might require surgical correction of the issue. 

What Can Be Mistaken for Bunions?

Many foot conditions can look like bunions – these include bone spurs, hallux rigidus, and corns or calluses on the inside of the foot in the area of the big toe joint.


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