Plantar Plate Tear

Plantar Plate Tear

What is a Plantar Plate Tear?

The plantar plate is a strong ligamentous structure that runs along the bottom (plantar) surface of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints (i.e. the joints between the long bones of the foot and the bones of the toes. The plantar plate supports the MTP joints during walking and other weight-bearing and physical activities and protects it from excess pressure. In the case of a Plantar Plate Tear, the plantar plate ligament tears off.

What causes a Plantar Plate Tear?

  • Overuse/Repetitive stress from activities that put stress on the ball of the foot e.g. running, dancing, climbing
  • Biomechanical abnormalities such as high arches or foot imbalances
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Injury trauma
  • High-impact activities or sports that involve repetitive movements

Plantar Plate Tear symptoms

  • Pain under the ball of the foot which can radiate towards the toes
  • Swelling and tenderness under the ball of the foot
  • Clawing or splaying of the toes
  • Toe appearing in an odd shape or direction
  • Swelling and inflammation around the MTP joint
  • Toes “popping” or “clicking” during movement
  • Instability or weakness in the toe

Plantar Plate Tear treatments

  • REST: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
  • Strapping or splinting
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Custom Orthotics devices
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Shock therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery (for severe or persistent plantar plate tears that require repair to the injured ligament)
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