Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is There a Toe Monster at M&T Bank Stadium?

First Ben Grubbs; then Ray Lewis; and now Lardarius Webb. Each of these key Ravens players has been slowed by turf toe. Some think that turf toe is the result of banging the big toe into the front of a shoe resulting in a swollen toe and a hideous blood blister under the big toenail.

That’s not the case otherwise modern medicine would allow for swelling reduction, perhaps cutting out the nail and soon thereafter a player could be back out on the field.

So what exactly is turf toe?

According to, “Turf toe is a sprain to the ligaments around the big toe joint, which works primarily as a hinge to permit up and down motion. Just behind the big toe joint in the ball of your foot are two pea-shaped bones embedded in the tendon that moves your big toe. Called sesamoids, these bones work like a pulley for the tendon and provide leverage when you walk or run. They also absorb the weight that presses on the ball of the foot.”

Ben Grubbs is back. Ray Lewis appears to be back but unfortunately it appears to be exit stage San Diego for Webb.

Generally speaking fans want to know three things when it comes to turf toe:

1. What causes turf toe?
2. Does the artificial turf increase the chance of occurrence?
3. How long is the average healing process?

Here are the dummied down answers (mostly for me)…

1. If a player is tackled or forced forward while the toe stays flat to the ground and it forces bending of the toe beyond the normal range of motion, the toe is compromised – hyperextended, leading to ligament damage.
2. Artificial turf has less give and consequently it increases the risk of such hyperextensions.
3. Two to three weeks of rest and perhaps extended time for physical therapy in order to re-establish strength and stability.

The Ravens appear to have taken extra precautions with Ben Grubbs who missed 6 games while resting 7 weeks, including the bye. Ray Lewis has missed 4 games but is expected to return to the field on Sunday against the Chargers. Lardarius Webb? Who knows, time will tell. But the guess here is that if he does miss against the Chargers, the Ravens may rest him against Cleveland and if a bye seems probable, they may give him off against Cincinnati and the first round bye week

Let’s hope the M&T toe monster has had his fill.


ravcolt said...

The only way to better understand is to compare M&T to league stats and other stadiums. And it may not only be turf toe, but other types of leg injuries. In this case, statistics may not lie.

Jerry B said...

It has always been my considered opinion that artificial surfaces account for many of the injuries today, with "turf toe", "high ankle sprains" and concussions being the most prominent. There just seeems to be less "give" or cushion than natural surfaces, and cleats are more likely to "stick" than they do on natural turf, but it's difficult to quantify. In the case of toe/foot/ankle injuries, it may also be related to the shoes, which would be easier to modify than the turf. Frankly, with all the rule changes and the way the game is played today, it's not just the turf that appears.....artificial!