The plantar plate is a ligament underneath the joints at the base of the toes in the foot. A plantar plate tear happens when we have a smaller tear of this ligament. In the past this disorder has been referred to as metatarsalgia, however that was a vague generic name for virtually any pain in the foot linked to the metatarsals. When more become known about the anatomy of the area and the role of the structure in numerous painful disorders the terms plantar plate dysfunction and plantar pate tear become better known to describe this condition. The disorder typically starts with mild pain under the metatarsal head in the foot which comes on gradually. Later on it can also be rather painful to touch. In some instances, the toe could become lifted up since the tear means that the ligament has difficulties holding the toe down that is one of the purposes of that plantar plate. An ultrasound evaluation are often used to confirm the diagnosis.
The reason for this disorder is not obvious but it is related to too much use and overstretching of the ligament. Some foot types also appear to get this more regularly. The usual primary treatment for a plantar plate tear is normally strapping to hold the toe plantarflexed to alleviate the load on the plantar plate which has the tear. A metatarsal pad is frequently used as well or rather than the taping to further decrease force on that plantar plate. Occasionally padding to offload the sore area can give a lot of comfort. In addition, a inflexible soled footwear are often used to further prevent the toe from dorsiflexing will also be included with the above mentioned. Commonly, this approach needs to be utilized for at least a few months to see if it will help. Usually, this is effective in nearly all cases. Nevertheless, if it doesn't help, then surgical alternatives have to be considered to fix the tear.