The plantar plate is a ligament under the joints for the base of the toes in the feet. A plantar plate tear is when we have a small tear in that ligament. Previously this problem may have been referred to as metatarsalgia, but that was a pretty generic name for just about any pain in the feet linked to the metatarsals. Since more come to be understood regarding the anatomy of the region and the role of the structure in various painful problems the words plantar plate dysfunction and plantar pate tear become better identified to explain this disorder. The problem usually starts off with a discomfort underneath the metatarsal head in the foot that comes on gradually. Later on it usually is rather painful when pressed on. Sometimes, the toe may become raised as the tear means that the ligament has difficulties holding the toe plantarflexed that is one of the purposes of this plantar plate. An ultrasound assessment could be used to establish the diagnosis.
The explanation for this disorder isn't clear but it relates to too much use and overstretching of the ligament. Some foot types also appear to get this more regularly. The usual initial treatment for a plantar plate tear is normally strapping to hold the toe plantarflexed to alleviate the stress on the plantar plate that has the tear. A metatarsal pad is often utilized as well or as opposed to the strapping to help reduce stress on that ligament. Sometimes padding to offload the painful area will give plenty of relief. In addition, a inflexible soled footwear may be used to even more stop the toe from dorsiflexing could also be combined with the above. Typically, this approach must be utilized for at least a couple of months to see if it helps. Usually, this is successful in the majority of cases. However, if it does not help, then surgical options should be considered to repair the tear.