The Differences Between Gout Toe and Turf Toe

Gout toe and Turf toe are two completely different conditions that are often mistaken to be the same thing because of their relatively similar symptoms. Both are characterized by an inflammation that results to redness, swelling, and even pain in the area of the toe affected, but as you will discover later on there are very big differences to the nature of each of these conditions. To make it easier for you determine if you have gout toe or turf toe, here is a breakdown of the different areas where they significantly differ.

The Cause

Gout is caused by high uric acid in the body which eventually builds up as crystals in the joint of the big toe. This is typically caused by a poor diet that consists of fatty and high protein foods as well as the regular intake of alcohol which leads to the inefficient performance of the kidney and liver – two organs that are directly related to the production and excretion of uric acid. As a result gout toe is commonly seen in middle aged men who live an unhealthy lifestyle. On the other hand turf toe is mostly seen in athletes and those with an active lifestyle and is caused by an injury to the tendons at the base of the big toe.

Site of pain

For you to be able to determine which of the two conditions you really have, you should pinpoint exactly where the pain is coming from. Both of these conditions will present swelling, redness, and pain, which are all symptomatic of an inflammation, but the pain will occur at different sites. Gout pain is basically located at the top of joint of the big toe while turf pain is localized to the tendons below the joint of the big toe. The site of swelling then is also very different with the former presenting at the top of the foot while the latter is more evident at the side of the foot or the bottom.


Having known the basic differences between the two it is also important to know that treatment is very different. Gout toe is usually treated with a change in diet and with the revitalization of the liver and kidney through healthy living. Once the kidneys and liver are functioning properly, they can efficiently decrease the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream thus preventing further urate crystal buildup in your joints. For turf toe on the other hand treatment options depend on the severity of the condition. Icing the site of swelling usually helps, but in most cases a visit to a sports injury specialist is required. Putting a brace on the toe may be required as well different rehabilitation and strengthening exercises.

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