Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
My son came home from football practice and was complaining about his big toe. When I looked at his toe, it was swollen, warm, and purple! What could this be?
Dear Football Mom,
Ah, fall sports. It makes me think of high school football, pompom mums and taffy apples. Also while spring sports bring the promise of better weather, fall sports start out warm and end cold. Get your blanket ready!
With both football and soccer starting up this type of injury can be common to both sports. It is not surprising when a rough, tough football or soccer player does not admit to the pain until the toe is infected and needs professional treatment.
It sounds like your son has an ingrown toe nail. They are very painful and can get infected. There are several ways that this could have happened. One way is that his toe could have been stepped on and stepped on hard. When this happens, the toe digs into the skin around the nail. Also, if your son’s shoes have gotten tight then the pressure could have affected his big toe (the usual place for an ingrown toe nail). Also if he didn’t cut his toe nails straight across then one side could grow into his toe.
It sounds like a visit to your friendly local podiatrist is in order. You need to get that infection under control because an infection in the toe can spread to the bone. Also, your son might welcome being pain free. A visit to the podiatrist will usually relieve some of the pain immediately. It will be a welcome relief.
The other injury that we often see now that football and soccer have started is when the child develops blood under their toe nail. The bleeding under the toe nail (Subungual Hemotoma) is also what they call a “crush injury”. That means that it is caused by being stepped on or you drop a heavy object (weights?) on your toe. This can be very painful. You need to go and have it checked because you need to make sure that the toe isn’t broken or there isn’t damage to the nail bed. A Subungual Hematoma is characterized by having a discoloration under the nail (red, dark red, or black), severe throbbing, and tenderness or swelling of the tip of the toe.
After the toe is checked to make sure the bone is intact, the doctor can discuss treatment options. There are times that nature will take care of the problem but sometimes the doctor will take measures to relieve the pressure under the nail.
Also, if there is purple under the nail and there was not a “crush injury”, you need to have your friendly local podiatrist check out the nail. It could be a tumor and you should get it checked as soon as possible.
Have a great season! Have a lot of fun in the bleachers with the other Moms. Shake those pom poms!
The Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comment section below. I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
Trivia Question of the week– Who was the first football player to rush over 1000 yard in a season? I will give you a multiple choice on this one. A.) Beattie Feathers, B.)Walter Payton, C.) Jim Brown, or D.)Dick Butkus.
Find the answer on our Facebook page – Evanston Podiatric Surgeons – on August 9. While you’re there, please take a moment to “like” us.
Follow us on twitter – @EvPodiatric and the answer will be tweeted on Friday morning as well.
If you live or work downtown Chicago and would like to see one of the friendly podiatrists there, don’t worry! You can head over to the office on the “Magnificent Mile” in Chicago. Stop in and say “Hello”. They would love to meet you. They are really that friendly!
Mag Mile Foot and Ankle Institute
333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1825
Chicago, IL 60601