What is a plantar plate pathology?
The plantar plate is a fibrocartilaginous anatomical structure that provides stability to the metatarsophalangeal joint.
When the plantar plate has stretched or torn the support for the particular toe is reduced and the toe becomes unstable. This commonly presents as pain on the ball of the foot and may also present with visible deformity of the toe.
Causes of plantar plate pathology
Plantar plate damage is typically as a result of increased strain within the structure or from increased pressure. This can be from, poor footwear, digital deformity
Diagnosis of plantar plate pathology
Diagnosis is usually based or symptoms and a complete assessment of your foot and ankle.
At the Foot an Ankle Centre we are able to provide additional information about the presence of plantar plate damage with ultrasound imaging.
Typically a plantar plate image will present as a discontinuity of the fibres within the plantar plate as shown in the video and picture below.
Treatment of plantar plate pathology
Treatment of a plantar plate pathology is difficult as the structure generally will not repair itself. Management becomes about offloading and supporting the toe this can be in the form of
- Digital taping
- Budin Loop Splints
- Orthotic Offloading
- Shoe stretching and modification