This study was conducted to categorize barefoot stubbing injuries to the great toe in children by injury mechanism to differentiate benign stubbing injuries from more complex injuries necessitating surgery.
Prospective clinical series of consecutively treated patients.
Tertiary university hospital setting.
Forty-one children who had sustained an indirect injury to the great toe during barefoot sports activities between January 2001 and December 2009 were included.
Conservative or surgical treatment was done according to clinical and radiological findings.
Main Outcome Measurement:
Information regarding injury mechanism was collected from patients, parents, and coaches using skeletal models and assessed by a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Mechanisms of injury were identified and grouped as follows: hyperabduction–flexion, hyperflexion, hyperabduction–extension, hyperextension, and hyperextension–adduction.
Hyperabduction–flexion was the most common mechanism (n = 16), in which interphalangeal joint dislocation and skin disruption was noted in most cases. The second most common mechanism was hyperabduction–extension (n = 14) in which avulsion fracture of the lateral volar condyle of the proximal phalanx was noted in most cases. This avulsion fracture had the worst prognosis after conservative care.
Based on these results, we have created a grading system and treatment protocol for indirect hallux sports injuries in children. Avulsion fracture of the lateral condyle of the proximal phalanx, a result of hyperabduction–extension, is a high-risk sign of nonunion and should be aggressively treated, contrary to previous guidelines.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.