Has your child been diagnosed with turf toe? Children who are involved in sports place a lot of extra pressure on their feet and toes. Turf toe is a sprain of the tendons, usually around the big toe.
Some of the most common symptoms of turf toe include:
- Tenderness or sensitivity around the big toe.
- Swelling around the big toe.
- Not being able to move the big toe normally.
- Stiffness in the toe joint.
Any sport that requires to push off against a hard surface can lead to turf toe. This injury is common among children who are involved in sports such as football, indoor soccer, tennis, basketball, wrestling, and gymnastics. Do you know what most of these sports have in common? They are played in artificial turf fields or hard surfaces.
These sports also involve a lot of sprinting, sudden stops and quick direction changes which all increases the likelihood of your child developing turf toes.
The issue with playing in artificial turf is that it is much firmer and harder than grass, and don’t have much give when forces are placed on it. This means that every time your child’s feet strike the ground they receive a higher impact.
Once your child’s toe pain and discomfort starts interfering with his/her every day activities, you must take action immediately. The good news is that some of the most common and effective treatments involve supportive shoes and in certain cases orthotic as well. I have fitted certain shoe styles and orthotics that have proven to significantly reduce or fully eliminate the pain.
One of the most common mistakes I see parents make is to provide their children with cheap and low quality sport shoes/cleats. Sport shoes play a key role in keeping your child’s feet healthy, and while a more expensive shoe doesn’t automatically translate into a better shoe, it’s important to choose your child’s sport shoes carefully.
There are certain sport shoes that don’t provide any support whatsoever, making your child more prone to developing a particular foot condition or injury.
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. The shoe store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. From my experience fitting thousands of kids, I have become familiar with the best shoe styles for children with foot conditions such as turf toe.
In order to prevent or help treat your child’s turf toe, we need to find sport shoes that are stiffer and provide better protection to the feet. However, it’s important to keep your kids’ toes protected and supported not just when your child is playing sports, but also during their everyday activities. Always make sure that your kids’ toes are not cramped inside the shoes, since this can make the condition worse.
There are two key features that your kids’ shoes must provide in order to effectively treat your child’s turf toe condition:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes and prevent the top part of the toes from rubbing against the top part of the shoes.
✅ Rounder Toe-Box: This feature will prevent your child’s toes form overlapping or rubbing against one another or the side of the shoes.
The issue is that children’s shoes don’t come labeled as “extra deep” or with a “rounder toe-box”, so parents are often confused as how they are supposed to find shoes that provide those 2 key features. I know which shoe styles provide these two features from having fitted them before.
I will provide you with a selection of the best sport shoes for kids with turf toe as well as a selection of the best everyday sneakers for kids with turf toes.
How to Treat Turf Toe? – Shoes and Special Inserts!
It’s really important that you don’t leave this condition untreated if you want to avoid a more invasive treatment such as surgery in the future.
The first thing that I recommend doing is have your child rest, elevate the foot, apply ice and anti-inflammatory medication. The next step is to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes followed by physical therapy.
Like I mentioned before, the correct type of shoes will also help treat this condition as well as prevent it.
Do not ever take the “wait and see approach” that most pediatricians recommend when it comes to treating your child’s foot conditions. Waiting for the condition to resolve on its own might lead to the condition to worsen over time. Left untreated, turf toe can become a debilitating injury.
It’s important that you provide your child with the correct shoe size, since shoes that are too long or too short can make the condition worse. This brings me to the next question:
Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!
Before you buy a pair of shoes for your kids online, you must be 100% sure that you know their exact foot size.
I always recommend parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store., but the issue is that most shoe stores have been closing down. Start by taking a look at an article that I wrote that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, take a look at a video tutorial I created to assist parents in determining their kids’ foot size at home effectively and with ease:
Now that you know how to figure out your child’s exact foot size, let’s take a look at the best shoes for kids with turf toe.
Your kids’ sneakers must prevent your child’s big toe from rubbing against the side of the shoes or the other toes. You must be very careful to not provide your child with shoes that are too long or too wide, since that can allow for too much foot movement inside the shoes. We can accomplish this by finding shoes with extra depth.
I have fitted all of the shoe styles that I recommend below, since that is the only way to tell how supportive, durable, and how the shoes fit.
The Best Sport Shoes for Turf Toe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I recommend staying away from cleats that are too flexible since this can predispose your child to toe injuries due to their limited support. The cleats need to be supportive and made from a rigid material.
Here you can find a selection of the best sport shoes for turf toe:
These cleats are also available in wide widths, meaning that they will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet, as long as you choose the shoe width accordingly.
While turf toe is more common for children who are involved in sports, it can also affect children who are involved in other high impact activities. The constant jamming and pushing off the big toe when your child is running or jumping can lead to turf toe. Let’s make sure that we keep your kids’ support throughout the day.
The Best Sneakers for Turf Toe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The everyday shoe styles below will properly support and protect your child’s feet. They come with a round toe-box and extra depth to prevent your child’s big toe from rubbing against other toes or the side of the shoes.
Here you can find a selection of the best everyday sneakers for turf toe:
How to Figure Out What Shoe Size to Provide for your Child?
As a standard rule, I always recommend parents to provide their children with 3/8 of an inch of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoes, which translates to a half a size bigger. Please note that your child’s longest toe doesn’t necessarily have to be the big toe, it can be the second or even the third toe.
Keep in mind that shoes can fit short, long, or true to size, and depending on how they fit you will need to adjust the size that you get for your child, meaning that sometimes your child might need a longer size.
All of the sports and regular sneakers shoe styles described above fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your child with a half a size longer in order to allow for growing room.
The Best Orthotic to Help treat and Prevent Turf Toe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If your child toe pain condition doesn’t improve by wearing the correct type of shoes, then I recommend trying an orthotic inside the shoes.
A stiff soled orthotic will help limit the motion of your child’s big toe, in order to prevent movement and bending when your child walks, runs, or participates in high impact activities.
I have found a particular orthotic that provides good arch support and helps transfer weight from the big toe. This orthotic will improve your child’s biomechanics and reduce the stress on your child’s big toe.
One great advantage is that this orthotic can be fitted inside your child’s sport shoes, since it’s made from a lower volume. Just please don’t forget to remove the original insole of the shoes before placing the orthotic.
Surgery might be recommended if your child’s symptoms don’t improve after several months of rest and wearing the correct type of shoes and orthotics.
Have you found a particular shoe style that has been effective in treating your child’s turf toe? Please share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.