The plantar plate is a ligament under the joints for the base of the toes in the feet. A plantar plate tear is when there is a tiny tear in this ligament. In the past this problem may have been called metatarsalgia, however that was a fairly generic word for virtually any pain in the feet related to the metatarsals. As more come to be understood concerning the anatomy with the area and the role of the anatomy in numerous painful problems the words plantar plate dysfunction and plantar pate tear become better known to explain this condition. The disorder usually starts off with an ache beneath the metatarsal head in the foot that comes on slowly. Later on it may be quite painful to the touch. Sometimes, the toe could possibly become lifted up since the tear means that the ligament has difficulties holding the toe plantarflexed which is one of the purposes of this plantar plate. An ultrasound examination can be used to confirm the diagnosis.
The reason behind this disorder is not really obvious however it relates to overuse and overstretching of the ligament. Some foot types also seem to get this more frequently. The usual primary solution for a plantar plate tear is usually taping to hold the toe lower to relieve the strain on the ligament which has the tear. A metatarsal pad is commonly used as well or instead of the taping to further alleviate strain on that plantar plate. Occasionally cushioning to offload the painful spot will give a great deal of comfort. Additionally, a inflexible soled footwear may be used to further stop the toe from bending may also be included with the aforementioned. Typically, this treatment will have to be utilized for at least several months to see if it can help. Frequently, this is very effective in almost all cases. However, if it does not help, then surgical alternatives really need to be considered to repair the rupture.