Sand Toe is an injury to the ligaments around the big toe. As the name indicates it is a more common injury in the sand, when the toe can be bent further into flexion. This is common when trying to run, jump, or change direction quickly in the sand.
The most common sign is pain, tenderness, and swelling over the big toe. The trauma injures the ligaments that surround and protect the toe. Injuries to the big toe are notorious for taking months to heal.
Immediate treatment should include P.R.C.E. Protect, rest, compress, ice, and elevate the injury. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are commonly recommend, ask your physician if it is appropriate for you. X-rays may be needed to evaluate further damage to the toe.
Taping the toe or modified splints can be helpful at decreasing further stress on the toe during daily activities of walking and standing. Most times the injuries require rest and avoidance of strenuous activities that involve jumping, running, sprinting, or forceful change of directions. These activities tend to aggravate the condition and slow recovery.
Active office treatment involves decreasing the pain and inflammation through physical therapy modalities including, ice, electric, ultrasound, and cold laser. The size and shape of the toe often make it difficult to apply therapeutic modalities. Cold laser is especially effective because of its ability to focus on the injured toe. Cold laser therapy is effective at decreasing pain, inflammation, and speeding recovery. It increases energy production of the cells around the toe, which accelerates healing potential. It also stimulates healing cells and metabolic activities for repair and growth. More on cold laser can be found at Cold Laser Treament.
Sand toe is an injury that will take week to months to resolve. Many people will feel mild pain with activity months after the injury. Care needs to be taken to make sure this condition resolves completely and does not become chronic.