Plantar Plate Tears

plantar plate
A plantar plate tear is a strain or partial tear of the ligament under the metatarsal head or heads in the ball of the foot. It most commonly affects the 2nd metatarsophalangeal joint, but can affect all of them. The most common cause of this problem is the simple overuse of the liagment with things like too much sport or physical activity. Those with bunions also tend to be more likely to develop this problem. The symptoms are typically an aching pain in the ball of the foot that can be quite painful if you push on the ball of the foot around the joint. A unique characteristic is that sometimes people complain that it feels like a sock being bunched up under the toes and ball of the foot, but when they go and check, it isn’t. You often see this question being asked in online forums and message boards.

Another question you also often see getting asked is if they can heal on their own or do they need treatment. Typically it can not heal on its own and treatment is almost always needed, even if that treatment is self-treatment. The best initial approach is to use something like tape to hold the toe down and use a stiffer sole shoe so that that joint does not have to bend as much when walking. If these approaches do not help, then it may be necessary to consider a surgical repair of the plantar plate.

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