A sprain of the big toe (aka Turf Toe or metatarsophalangeal joint sprain) can be difficult to treat and may take a surprisingly long time to recover from. But here’s a taping technique that can help to minimize movement of the toe while it heals….
Turf Toe is an injury to the soft tissues that connect the bones of the big toe to the bones of the foot. It often caused by the toe being forcefully hyper-extended. If you think you’ve sprained a toe, your first action should be to ice it. Following that, you should seek medical advice. Usually, you’ll be told not to use the toe – ideally keeping it immobilized – until it has completely healed. So you may be out of action for some time.
It is difficult to effectively brace or tape a toe, but this strapping technique can help to limit movement of the toe. You will probably need someone else to apply the tape for you, while you sit or lie with your foot relaxed over the edge of a couch or chair.
- 2.5cm Zinc Oxide Tape
- 5cm Elastic Adhesive Bandage or Tearable Elastic Adhesive Bandage
- Scissors (optional)
Step 1: Circle the mid foot once with the zinc oxide tape to create an anchor. It does not need to be tight, but make sure that it is placed firmly enough that it won’t slip down the foot.
Step 2: Circle the big toe once with the zinc oxide tape.
Step 3: On the upper side of the foot, run a strip of zinc oxide tape down from the big toe to the circle of tape on the midfoot. You need to pull this strip of tape fairly taught.
Step 4: Lay another strip of tape down from the big toe to the anchor. This strip should be placed slightly further towards the inside edge of the foot, overlapping the first by about two-thirds. Again, the strip of tape needs to be applied with tension.
Step 5: Continue placing strips of zinc oxide tape this way, overlapping one another. Keep putting tape on until you’ve gone all the way around the foot and onto the sole. Eventually, you need to entirely cover the joint between the toe and the foot. So keep going until the whole of the ball of the foot is taped over as pictured:
Step 6: With the zinc oxide tape, circle the big toe and the mid foot once more to ‘lock down’ the ends of your tape strips.
Step 7: Finally, wrap the whole mid-foot in the elastic adhesive bandage.
Tip: Feet get sweaty and you may find that you sweat off the tape and it loses its adhesion. If this happens, try applying a tape adhesive spay like Tensospray or Mueller Tuffner to the foot before taping. This will help the strapping last longer.