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Isaiah Wynn has Turf Toe. What’s Turf Toe?

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Why is turf toe such a brutal injury?

Carolina Panthers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As reported by Ian Rappaport, Patriots tackle Isaiah Wynn has turf toe and is considered week-to-week with the injury.

Good news overall, as Wynn isn’t expected to miss significant time and the Patriots’ early schedule is soft enough that they don’t necessarily need to rush him back.

Turf toe has always been one of those injuries that, as someone who has never played a single down of real football, never made sense to me. Every week, we see players powering through broken bones, ruptured organs, concussions, double vision, and 104 degree fevers. And yet they hurt a toe and are out multiple weeks? What gives?

So I decided to ask my good friend Big Mike, who was a starting DI lineman at the University of Rhode Island back in the early 2000s. His claim to fame, which I remind him of at every opportunity, is getting absolutely smoked by Dwight Freeney on multiple occasions and playing a prominent role on Freeney’s Syracuse highlight reel.

But Big Mike has also always been my go-to guy when I need to take a deeper dive into the realities of being a player. I can talk Xs and 0s with...well, with most of them...but I’ve never played the game and have no idea what it’s like to strap on a helmet at a high level. So I asked him what exactly it is about turf toe that makes it so debilitating, particularly from a lineman’s perspective.

Luckily for all of us, he can speak from personal experience. What turf toe is, basically, is excessive upward bending of the big toe, which in turn stretches out the ligaments of the foot and causes extreme, shooting pains up your entire leg every time you take a step, making walking, let alone playing, impossible. In Mike’s own words:

It’s the worst. I was on crutches. You can’t walk. And there is really nothing you can do for it. Had it twice...I’d take a separated shoulder, broken ribs, broken fingers over that.”

He also mentioned that turf toe is especially rough on tackles, as Wynn injured his “kick foot,” which is the anchor for your entire body when you kick slide against edge defenders coming around the blind side.

The good news is that turf toe goes away on its own, isn’t threatening as a long-term injury, and can be treated with ice and rest. The bad news is that there’s no real timeline for recovery and Wynn is sidelined with the lamest sounding injury in the football lexicon.

And since turf toe is no joke, I propose we all rename it something more severe, like Peg Leg or The Stabber. Much easier to rationalize missing multiple weeks with a bad Stabber.