What are plantar plate tears?

What causes plantar plate tears?

Plantar plate pain is often a result of either an acute tear or a chronic insufficiency or degradation of the plantar metatarsal ligament. There are many reasons for a plantar plate tear and today we will touch on a few of the reasons behind pain in the plantar plate and how your local Podiatrist can help.

First of all it is important to get the correct diagnosis and therefore treatment for plantar plate damage. Your podiatrist at TFC Podiatry Point Cook will diagnose this promptly through clinical signs and symptoms such as palpation and a full biomechanical assessment as well as further diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound if any further clarification is needed.

If you feel pain in the ball of your foot, the plantar plate is a vulnerable ligament to damage and associated pain that could potentially explain this. The pain is generally caused by forcing the toe into dorsiflexion (an upwards motion at the toe joint that acts to stretch the plantar plate.) when the toe is in this position the ligament can stretch causing pain or even tear usually resulting in pain, bruising, swelling as well as the retraction or clawing of the toe.

Other sources of pain which can cause similar symptoms include: neuromas, intermetatarsal bursitis, tendon or muscle pains, Freibergs infarctions and bunions. As there is an extensive list of problems that can be hard to tell the difference between, it is important that you get the problem assessed and properly managed by your Podiatrist as soon as possible.

What can Podiatry offer? Podiatrists can offer a multitude of treatment for both acute and chronic plantar plate pain. The treatment generally consists of offloading the area combined with an anti inflammatory treatment plan. At The Foot Clinic Point Cook, we offer offloading options anywhere from a CAM boot, to simple padding and strapping options depending on the treatment required.

Surgery is rarely needed for plantar plate pain as the pain generally settles down with effective offloading. If surgery is needed there are options of either Podiatric surgeons or Orthopaedic surgeons. If this conversation comes up, talk to your Podiatrist to see which one i appropriate to you.

Ashley Wevling, Nathan Pring, Christopher Wevling

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