Soccer is a sport that relies entirely on your feet, and if one of your big toes gets sprained during a game, you are in trouble. Understanding the nature of toe sprains, how they will affect your game, and how to recover during games can help you get back on track as soon as possible.
How You Might Have Sprained Your Toe
Soccer, while not a high impact sport, is a very active one. Spraining your toe when playing soccer is relatively easy, especially if you are a hard kicker and a shooter. Dribbling lightly isn't likely to sprain your toe, but heavy strikes towards the goal might. You may also sprain your toe landing wrong or juking too sharply.
Knowing how you sprained your toe can make it easier to avoid the same injury in the future. You also need to understand the various grades of sprains. Grade one will cause your toe to swell up but should heal in about a week.
Grade two will be more severe, and your toe will hurt to move, while with grade three, the ligament in the toe may have completely torn. Recovery from the latter two will keep you off the soccer field for weeks or even months.
How It Will Impact Your Game
Obviously, if you have a grade two or a grade three sprain, you won't be playing in that game anymore. However, it is entirely possible that you could play with a light grade one sprain. It will make it more difficult for you to run, change directions, or kick the ball, though, and could lead to a severe sprain.
That's why it's best to just completely stay off your feet and off the field until you've recovered. If you're one of the team's best players, this will be hard for you, your coach, and your team to manage. However, grade two and three sprains could permanently alter your game.
Recovering With R.I.C.E. Immediately After The Injury
When recovering from a toe sprain right after it occurs, use the method known as R.I.C.E. This acronym stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate. The first step requires staying off your toe as much as possible, using a brace to keep it stable and to support the weight of your foot.
Ice requires using a cold back or compression sleeve for 15-20 minutes, four to eight times a day. This can be done while you're watching the game. Compression requires wrapping your toe with an elastic bandage to help reduce swelling and keep your toe in a rigid position.
Finally, you need to elevate your leg above your heart (such as lying down on the ground with your foot on the bench) to further prevent swelling. By following these guidelines, you can protect your big toe sprain from getting even worse. It'll help you get back on the soccer field and winning games in no time.
For more information, contact a sports medicine expert in your area.