UFC 159 results: The medical debate about Jon Jones' toe injury

Zombie Prophet

UFC LHW champ Jon Jones suffered a grisly injury to his big toe in last night's UFC 159 bout with Chael Sonnen. Here's what we know about the injury so far and the controversy among doctors as to its treatment.

This is a guest post by Bloody Elbow community member NickPT, a practicing physical therapist with 25 years of experience treating musculoskeletal injury. Follow him on Twitter @MMAinjury

So the fight card that I decide to skip has some of the most hideous, puke-inducing injuries in years. I would have been in Twitter nirvana had I been watching... oh well, there's always next time. I have been waiting for a reason to post pictures like this, so here goes...

By now, everyone who cares has seen the nauseating toe injury that Jon Jones suffered in his bout with Chael Sonnen, but for those who missed it, here it is thanks to Zombie Prophet.

He suffered an open fracture dislocation of the great toe, which appeared to involve the interphalangeal joint of the toe- the one at the middle of the toe. He was taken to a local hospital, where he had the dislocation repaired and the fracture wound closed. He posted this post-procedure picture on Twitter.

At this point, I am assuming that this was a dislocation only, and there was no other bone fracture that would have required hardware to repair. There is some controversy swirling on Twitter with a couple of doctors that follow MMA. The problem seems to revolve around the facts that (a) Jones continued walking on the foot with an open wound that is potentially exposed to infection, (b) he wasn't taken immediately to the hospital for surgical repair, and instead continued with the post fight proceedings, and (c) that the repair was apparently done in the ER, instead of the operating room.

On the point of surgery specifics, and whether the fracture should have been cared for in ER vs OR, I completely defer to the opinions of orthopedic surgeons. However, what is not known is if an orthopedic physician was involved in caring for the injury in the ER. Also, there is no information regarding possible ligament injury to the toe, which is a possibility given the traumatic nature of the injury.

Regardless, Jones is now on crutches, likely with no weight bearing on the foot for a few weeks, and immobilization of the toe to prevent movement and allow for healing. Rehab of this injury will be critical. The great toe must have good mobility for any activity that requires forceful push-off with the foot, which is just about everything in MMA.

SBN coverage of UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen

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