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Updated:

March 31, 2024

What Are Plantar Plate Tears?

Plantar Plate Tear

Through chronic microtrauma, sports injury, or dynamic imbalance, the connective scar tissue running through the sole of the foot can become inflamed, stretched, or torn.

These plantar plate tear issues can result in pain in the ball of the foot, joint instability, crossover toes, or dislocations.

Symptoms may include pain, burning, tingling, or numbness between the toes and on the ball of the foot associated with standing for long periods of time or increased activities, highlighting the importance of understanding plantar plate tear symptoms.

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How We Treat Plantar Plate Tears

Depending on the severity of the tear and the background of the patient, surgery may be considered as a treatment. Conservative treatment options are always recommended before considering plantar plate tear surgery.

Conservative Plantar Plate Tear Treatments

Shoes:

A larger, softer shoe with a more supportive insert and a roomy toe box can relieve the direct or indirect pressure and pain beneath from plantar plate tears on the ball of the foot and toe joints, making them some of the best shoes for plantar plate tear.

Temporary arch supports or custom-molded orthotics will also give pressure relief and are arguably the best solution for long-term treatment with or without surgical intervention, serving as an effective plantar plate tear home treatment.

Medication:

Anti-inflammatory medication can help with the chronic pain but is not much help with the notice pain that comes with plantar plate tears.

Splinting:

Taping the toes in an ‘interweaving’ fashion can either temporarily keep the toe and joint in the correct position or help it heal if the tear is partial and not a full ligament plantar plate rupture, showcasing an effective plantar plate tear taping method.

Custom Molded Orthotics:

One of the best ways to treat Plantar Plate Injuries with or without surgery is with an orthotic device that places the pressure into the archway and off of the ball of the foot.

If manufactured and molded correctly, they can keep the tension off the nerve injury and pressure when standing and walking, acting as a plantar plate tear brace.

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Surgical Technique for "Splay Toes" and Plantar Plate Repair

The plantar plate can be easily repaired with sophisticated surgical equipment, such as the Arthrex CPR. Digital surgery may be necessary to straighten a deformity (such as Hammertoe) caused by joint dislocation or other deformities caused by a torn plantar plate.

The plantar plate tear surgery recovery period is crucial, with patients being non-weight-bearing for 4-6 weeks followed by 3-4 weeks of physical therapy.

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Why Choose Us

Selecting the right care for plantar plate injuries requires consideration of various factors, including expertise, treatment options, and support services. Here's why our clinic stands out as the premier choice for your foot care needs:

Expert Diagnosis and Personalized Care Plans

At Modern Foot & Ankle, our specialists utilize the latest diagnostic techniques, including plantar plate tear x-ray and MRI, to accurately identify the extent of your injury. Based on these findings, we tailor a treatment plan that addresses your specific condition, whether it's a chronic plantar plate injury or an acute plate tear.

Advanced Treatment Options

Our clinic offers a comprehensive range of treatments, from non-surgical options like physical therapy and custom orthotics to cutting-edge surgical techniques for plantar plate repair. Our goal is to relieve pain and restore function while focusing on the long-term health of your foot.

State-of-the-Art Surgical Care

For patients requiring plantar plate tear surgery, our surgeons employ the latest procedures designed to minimize recovery time and maximize outcomes. We specialize in plantar plate repair and correction of associated deformities, such as toe deformity.

Comprehensive Support Services

From your first consultation through recovery, our team provides continuous support. This includes insurance coverage assistance, scheduling physical therapy sessions, and offering guidance on footwear, like the importance of a stiff soled shoe, to aid your healing process.

Education and Prevention

Understanding your condition is key to prevention. We offer resources and advice on how to avoid future plantar plate injuries, including exercises and footwear recommendations.

Personalized Physical Therapy Programs

Our tailored physical therapy programs are designed to strengthen the foot and enhance recovery post-surgery or as part of conservative management for plantar plate tears.

Long-term Follow-up Care

We believe in the importance of ongoing care. Our clinic schedules follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery and prevent recurrence.

In Summary

  1. A plantar plate tear is a significant injury that impacts the ligament structure under the affected metatarsal head, leading to foot pain, affected toe pain, and sometimes toe deformity.
  2. Recognizing the symptoms early—such as sharp pain in the second toe or between the second and third toes—is crucial for timely intervention. Plantar plate tears and injuries can severely affect mobility and quality of life if left untreated.
  3. Treatment strategies for a plantar plates vary from non-surgical methods, like physical therapy, plantar plate tear exercises, and splinting, to surgical options for more severe cases. Surgical success rates are high, especially when followed by physical therapy and proper footwear, such as a stiff soled shoe, to support recovery.
  4. With our focus on advanced treatments, personalized care, and supportive services, we ensure that patients receive the best possible outcomes for their plantar plate injuries.

The information on our website is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. For any health-related concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional. Please note that any reliance on the information found on our site is solely at your own risk. For more details, please see our Medical Disclaimer.

FAQs

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Is the plantar plate a tendon?

No, the plantar plate is not a tendon but a broad ligament at the bottom of the metatarsal bone phalangeal joints.

How long does a plantar plate tear take to heal?

A plantar plate tear takes longer to heal than most injuries because of the force of the entire body’s weight on it during normal walking. Non-surgical treatment for plantar fasciitis tear involves non-weight-bearing for 6-8 weeks as the optimal treatment.

Can a plantar plate tear heal without surgery?

Yes, a plantar plate tear can heal without surgery if it is a partial tear. An MRI is essential for confirming whether it is a partial vs. complete plantar plate tear.

How serious is a plantar tear?

A plantar plate tear is very serious. If left untreated, the metatarsal phalangeal joint can become completely dislocated and with time progress to DJD or degenerative joint disease.

What is plantar plate degeneration?

Plantar plate degeneration is the weakening of this structure under the metatarsal phalangeal joint. The most common causes are a ‘dorsiflexion’ injury, repetitive force on the ball of the foot, and elongated metatarsal.

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Our podiatrists can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with hammertoes, using both conservative and surgical methods.

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Our podiatrists specialize in caring for diabetic feet, providing routine foot care, wound care, and education to help prevent complications.

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