Overview

Plantar Plate Injury is one of the most common causes of pain experienced in the ball of the foot. The plantar plate is a thick ligament structure on the ball of the foot that provides stability to the toe, cushions the foot during weight-bearing activities and helps bring the toe to the floor when standing.

This condition is most often experienced by mature-aged women whose feet tend to roll in. Most people make a full recovery within a few months.

Causes

The most common causes of Plantar Plate Injury are:

  • Excessive loads being placed through the forefoot, impacting the plantar plates.
  • Footwear that doesn’t fit properly.
  • A short first metatarsal.
  • A long second or third metatarsal.
  • Imbalances in the foot and biomechanical issues.
  • Untreated pigeon toe.
  • Arthritis of the big toe.
  • Bunions that push on the second toe.
  • Overweight

Symptoms

Plantar plate injuries often result in ongoing pain and swelling in the ball of the foot that can extend towards the toes. This pain is likely to persist despite changes to footwear and lifestyle adjustments. Other common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Splaying or clawing of the toes.
  • Swelling and redness impacting the top of the foot.
  • A sensation of ‘walking on the bones of the foot.
  • A second or third toe that seems to be shifting position.
  • A toe not touching the ground when a person is standing.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry will diagnose a Plantar Plate Injury by checking your health history and performing a Biomechanical Assessment during which your movement will be studied. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound may be recommended.

Treatment

If a Plantar Plate Injury is not treated adequately, there is a risk the condition can become chronic with a chance of deformity.Dan Everson Podiatry suggests one or more of the following treatments methods:

  •  Rest and ice to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Kinetic Orthotics may be prescribed to relieve some pressure from the strained areas of the feet.
  • Footwear modification to avoid high heels and tight shoes.
  • Surgery is advised in some cases to repair the plantar plate.

Prevention

Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent a Plantar Plate Injury:

  • Kinetic Orthotics can distribute pressure from the problem area.
  • Shoes which offload pressure from the ball of the foot. Your podiatrist can recommend some styles and suppliers to suit your feet.

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