Treating a Plantar Plate Tear

Posted by | July 21, 2020 | Podiatry Issues

A plantar plate tear (or dysfunction) is a common cause of pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia). The pain is typically under the metatarsal head and just distal to the head and sometimes on the top of the metatarsophalangeal joint. The plantar plate is a thickened area of the bottom part of the joint capsule (ligament) of those metatarsophalangeal joints.

The diagnosis is generally made by the location and the description of the symptoms as well as by a range of clinical tests. Confirmation is often done with the use of a diagnostic ultrasound.

The non-surgical treatment for plantar plate tears is to prevent the toe from dorsiflexing. This can be best done by strapping that holds the toe in a plantarflexed position. A stiffer sole shoe or rocker sole shoe can also be very helpful for this as well or as an adjunct to the tape. This is generally all that is needed, but to can take a while to work and patience is needed. If that is not successful then a plantar plate repair can be done surgically.

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