The plantar plate is a region beneath the ball in the foot on the bottom of the joint capsule that encapsulates the metatarsophalangeal joints of the smaller toes. It is a robust ligament structure that provides firmness to the metatarsophalangeal joints and also is a connection section of other ligaments that are all around the joint. Occasionally that thickened ligament might get overused, which usually gets labelled plantar plate dysfunction. At times it can progress to a minor split inside the plantar plate and might turn out to be very uncomfortable to walk upon. This is known as a 'plantar plate tear'. It is a relatively common musculoskeletal condition of the foot.
Normally, it can be painful under and just in front of the metatarsal joints to walk on and when the area is touched firmly. When weight bearing the toe of the affected metatarsophalangeal joint is usually a bit elevated. There are a few specialized assessments or motions that health professionals could do to the toe to test out the stability, function and strength of the plantar plate and also to identify exactly how extensive the tear is actually. The reason for a plantar plate tear is not really typically really evident, but there are numerous types of risk factors that do enhance the risks of getting it, but typically it is on account of a lot of use with a lot of flexing of the toe. An odd discomfort that a few due to this condition describe can be a sense of their sock crunched up under the toes, but when they check its not.
The obvious way to deal with a plantar plate tear will be to have the diagnosis correct. There isn't any doubt clinically. An ultrasound assessment could be used to ascertain the extent with the partial tear and confirm the diagnosis. The typical initial treatment strategy is to use strapping for a plantar plate tear which is made to hold the joint in a downward position to reduce the amount of dorsiflexion of the joint when walking. A metatarsal pad that is placed just posterior to the painful region can also be helpful to help reduce the load. A firmer or less flexible soled shoes or shoes having a rocker could also be used to help you restrict the forces on the joint. Assuming that is performed correctly, your plantar plate tear should usually get better after a while. In the event it won't work then an operative fix of the partial tear can be suggested.