Due to the slightly flexible puzzle mats that are laid out at the school where I run my Jiu-jitsu classes and do my MMA training, I and many others keep spraining our toes. What happens is that the big toe catches slightly as you move sometimes then your weight comes down on it in a bent state. As a result, I and those who run the club are planning to lay down my Olympic Judo mats which I have in storage, which don’t cause this problem.
This condition is known as first metatarsophalangeal joint strain or ‘turf toe’ if that’s too hard to wrap your tongue around. The basic treatments for this injury that you can do yourself are as follows:
Cryotherapy. In other words, put ice on it. Make sure the ice or cold pack is wrapped in a light towel and follow the rule of 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off.
Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. I use ibuprofen, aka- Advil. Arnica gel is a nice topical anti-inflammatory agent that I use as well as I ice my injury. It really helps.
Decreased weight-bearing activities for at least 72 hours. This one is important. I didn’t do it when I first sprained my toe on Sunday. I went on to do my MMA training on Monday and paid the price by spraining it worse while I was grappling. Don’t be like me.
Taping. When you do go back to training, taping it up is a good way to keep from re-injuring it while it’s still in a vulnerable state. The photo featured here shows the taping I did on my toe. Another option for protecting your toes is to wear wrestling shoes while you’re still in your recovery period.
All the main info above came from a very useful book that my doctor student lent me called Clinical Sports Medicine. It is a comprehensive book of every imaginable sports injury/ condition and how to diagnose and treat it. It also has valuable information about warm-ups, warm-downs, nutrition, and a wide variety of other issues important in sport. It’s in invaluable tool for dojo owners. Sometimes my students ask me to recommend various stretches and strengthening exercises to help recover from injuries. It’s very useful for that, but of course, only after they have already had the condition diagnosed by a doctor.
At this point, I’d like to mention that none of the information in this blog post constitutes medical advice. I am not a doctor nor do I know the specifics of your individual condition. I did, however, have all this confirmed with a doctor for my own personal condition. And you should too for every injury you sustain.