Plantar Plate Tear / Rupture

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The plantar plate is a thick ligament on the underside of your foot, running along the first joint of each toe. Its purpose is to act like a support cable and protect the toe joints from pressure and injury, and to prevent the joint from bending upward beyond the normal range of motion. Injury to the plantar plate results to mild to severe pain and swelling under the ball of the foot, extending toward the toes (most commonly the 2nd or 3rd). One or more of your toes may be splayed or clawed. You may also have a sensation of numbness or “burning pain” in your toes, or a feeling like you’re walking on the bones of your foot.
Injury to the plantar plate is usually caused by overuse, such as from running; obesity, which puts too much body weight on the ligament; or wearing high heeled shoes too often which locks the forefoot into a flexed position and requires the plantar plate to carry all of your body weight.
  • Icing the injured area.
  • Short term anti inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen) to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Seek podiatry consultation.
  • Podiatrist may prescribe strapping the toe into a downward position to align it in order to help healing, footwear modifications, orthotics.
  • We may prescribe special boot or shoe if your case is severe to keep weight completely off the ball of your foot.
  • Foot and ankle surgeon for surgical treatment when non-surgical measures fail to alleviate pain and begin to limit your lifestyle.
Treatment for this acute condition can take time, with most patients pain free with 3-4 months. Initial symptoms improvement allows most people to return to activity within 1 month.

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