Running Doc on Jets RB Matt Forte’s recovery from ‘Turf Toe’

Dear Running Doc:

My favorite NY Jets running back Matt Forte has Turf Toe. This week will be the second week he will not play. How serious is this for him and will he be back this season?

Roger C., Melville, NY

Thanks Roger for writing. I too am a Matt Forte fan and was distressed to hear that he is battling a Turf Toe injury. Turf Toe is a tough injury to recover from, especially for a running back.

Turf Toe is the name given to a tear of the ligaments of the first toe’s ball of the foot joint. It comes from hyperextension of the big toe when pushing off against a stiff surface. Artificial turf is stiffer than natural grass and became a prominent injury as football stadiums installed artificial turf.

Prognosis on the tear of this ligaments depends upon how torn these ligaments are. It may only take a few weeks of wearing a stiff shoe, it may take months with a hard insole played within the shoe or he could be out for the year if he requires surgery. It is usually tough for running backs to come back quickly because the ability to cut and change direction comes off the ball of the foot. Without personally examining Matt Forte, it’s hard to tell you his exact prognosis.

We all are rooting for Matt Forte and hope he has a speedy recovery. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to write.

Enjoy the Ride!


Lewis G. Maharam, MD, FACSM is one of the world’s most extensively credentialed and well-known sports health experts. Better known as Running Doc™, Maharam is author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running and past medical director of the NYC Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. He is Medical Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. He is also past president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. Learn more at

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