What is a tear of the plantar plate?

There is a peculiar discomfort which may happen beneath the forefoot that is frequently described as a sense that a sock is scrunched up under the toes, but if you looked at it, it is not. The feeling is frequently referred to and is often puzzling. Most probably the impression is due to a problem with a ligament on the base of one or more of the metatarsophalangeal (toe) joints of the feet known as plantar plate dysfunction. About each joint, there's a strong covering called the joint capsule. Regions of each joint capsule are thicker and these are the ligaments that protect and stabilise the joints. Underneath the base of the metatarsophalangeal joints, that joint capsule is thicker to make what is called the plantar plate. It's possible to strain or perhaps get a minor split in that plantar plate, that creates that sensation of a sock which seems like its bunched up beneath the toes.

Pain usually begins slowly and gradually below the ball of the foot and might be preceded by that bizarre scrunched sock feeling. The typical manifestation of plantar plate dysfunction is pain on palpation of the vicinity of the plantar plate. An experienced clinician will be able to move the joint in such a way to identify if the plantar plate is damaged. A conclusive diagnosis can be accomplished with a diagnostic ultrasound, however it's rather evident to a experienced clinician on assessment. Ordinarily the first treatment methods are taping to hold the toe directed downwards to relieve the force on the ligament. A metatarsal pad can be commonly used to reduce the load on the plantar plate. This usually improves most all cases of plantar plate dysfunction and get rid of that bizarre experience of a bunched up sock under the ball of the foot. If those conservative methods don't help, surgical repair of a partial or complete split of the plantar plate is frequently undertaken.