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Operative Outcomes of Grade 3 Turf Toe Injuries in Competitive Football Players.

BACKGROUND: Turf toe is a term used to describe a hyperextension injury to the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Although the vast majority of turf toe injuries can be treated successfully without operative intervention, there are instances where surgery is required to allow the athlete to return to play. Although there is a plethora of literature on turf toe injuries and nonoperative management, there are currently few reports on operative outcomes in athletes.

METHODS: We obtained all cases of turf toe repair according to the ICD-10 procedural code. The inclusion criteria included: age greater than 16, turf toe injury requiring operative management and at least a varsity level high school football player. The charts were reviewed for age, BMI, level of competition, injury mechanism, football position, setting of injury and playing surface. In addition, we recorded the specifics of the operative procedure, a listing of all injured structures, the implants used and the great toe range of motion at final follow-up visit. The AOFAS Hallux score and VAS was used postoperatively as our outcome measures. Our patient population included 15 patients. The average follow-up time was 27.5 months.

RESULTS: The average patient was 19.3 years old with a body mass index of 32.3. The average playing time missed was 16.5 weeks. The average dorsiflexion range of motion at the final follow-up was 42.3 degrees. At final follow-up, the average AOFAS Hallux score was 91.3. The average VAS pain score was 0.7 at rest and 0.8 with physical activity.

CONCLUSION: Complete turf toe injuries are often debilitating and may require operative management to restore a pain-free, stable, and functional forefoot. This study represents the largest cohort of operatively treated grade 3 turf toe injuries in the literature and demonstrates that good clinical outcomes were achieved with operative repair.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, case series.

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