UFC Champion Jon Jones' Recent Injury Illustrates Particular Vulnerability of Feet in Extreme Sport of MMA

UFC Champion Jon Jones' Recent Injury Illustrates Particular Vulnerability of Feet in Extreme Sport of MMA


The lack of protective footwear leaves feet – especially toes – at extreme risk for serious trauma in the increasingly popular sport of MMA, according to the California Podiatric Medical Association.

A toe injury is not the very first thing you would think about in a sports injury, but in reality it can have debilitating effects on performance or even incapacitate an athlete. Since the toes are at the very end of the foot and move freely and independently of each other, they are susceptible to all sorts of trauma.

A gruesome example was seen in a recent MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fight at UFC 159 with Jon Jones, who suffered a serious injury to his big toe during the match. Although injuries like this are unlikely, any athlete performing without protective shoe gear could be at risk for developing such an injury.

“In my experience, most toe injuries are the result of a hyper-extension that bends the toes beyond their capacity or a sudden impact upon the toes,” says Dr. Albert Kim, a sports medicine podiatrist in West Covina, CA.  “In the first scenario, an athlete would most likely experience a tearing force that sprains or strains their soft tissue such as a tendon, ligament, or capsule injury. In the second situation with the case of a sudden impact, the toes would result in bruising, breaking, or even dislocating bones from their joint.”

Luckily, most minor toe injuries can be treated with basic first aid, rest, and time. However, if an athlete would like to recover faster or in the event that there is a more severe toe injury such as a suspected broken toe bone, an open bleeding toe, an inability to move the toes, increasing toe pain that does not get better, sores or signs of infection, or toes that get cold, numb, and discolored, it would definitely be wise to seek immediate professional medical treatment.

“There is a case where an MMA fighter (Neil Melanson, Xtreme Couture, Inc) had to have amputation of his injured toe due to the severity and complications of the injury,” said Dr. Wenjay Sung, a podiatric physician and surgeon practicing in Los Angeles, California. Although this is extremely unusual, MMA is becoming more popular worldwide, and injuries, such as these, are bound to increase. Because most MMA leagues do not allow toes to be manipulated or used directly as a fighting tool, there does not appear to be a vital role for toes to be uncovered and exposed. Most MMA leagues require some kind of hand gloving equipment as standard during competition so it wouldn’t be a stretch to recommend some type of foot gloving equipment to be standard as well.”

Those who are as unfortunate as Jon “Bones” Jones to experience this injury must make an informed decision on their future treatment. Podiatric physicians are trained to especially treat toe injuries using nonsurgical or surgical treatments and can best inform patients on their options. California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) member physicians are uniquely qualified among medical professionals, based on their education, training, and experience. If a toe injury is suspected, finding a podiatric physician is just a click away at CalPMA.org.

Western Foot and Ankle Conference – June 20 -23, 2013

Podiatric physicians from across the nation will gather at the Disneyland Hotel and Convention Center in Anaheim, California for the 2013 Western Foot and Ankle Conference (The Western), June 20-23. One of the premier podiatric surgery, medicine, and management conferences in the nation, and the largest west of the Mississippi, The Western will showcase the latest techniques, tools, and technologies in the treatment and care

of the foot and ankle, one of the most complex structures of the human body. The educational faculty features a stellar lineup of national authorities in podiatric surgery, medicine, sports medicine, infection control, chronic pain, pediatric care, and diabetic wound care.

Valuable information, entertainment and exciting new products will all be on display at the June 20-23 event. The exhibit floor will feature dozens of companies showcasing the latest in modern medicine, surgery and management technology, products and services. For more information on The Western Foot and Ankle Conference visit TheWestern.org.

Founded in 1912, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the leading and recognized professional organization for California’s doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and structures of the leg.

CPMA, keeping Californians on their Feet – Healthy, Active and Productive!