Plantar Plate Injuries

The plantar plate is a thick ligament on the bottom of the foot between the base of the toe and the metatarsal that keeps the toe straight. The plantar plate keeps the toe in line and prevents it from moving over the big toe and in the joint.

plantar plat injury

Plantar plate injuries have commonly been misdiagnosed as neuroma, neuritis, and joint swelling. This happens most commonly in the second toe.

Symptoms of a plantar plate tear can include:

  • A dull ache or sharp pain in the ball of the foot.
  • The feeling that there is not enough cushion between the foot bone and the ground.
  • Possible swelling and/or redness on the foot near the toe.
  • Pain worsening when flexing the toe upwards.

In more advanced injuries, the toe may shift upwards or to one side, resulting in “crossover toe.”

Certain conditions, such as a severe bunion, a second toe that is longer than the big toe, or flat feet, can also make a person more prone to plantar plate injuries. Plantar plate injuries are typically more common in women in their 30’s and 40’s.

First accurate diagnosis is essential and most of the time it will be clinically. MRI can be order BUT many will miss the tear as they are very small. Treatment of a plantar plate injury will depend in the extent of pain, age of the patient and degree of injury.

Conservatively and surgically we can treat this condition effectively.

Tapping and immobilization Strapping NSAID However most times this condition needs to be fixed surgically.

When it comes to plantar plate conditions, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure! Examining and diagnosing abnormal foot mechanics early on can help prevent plantar plate injuries.

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