Plantar plate injuries

Plantar plate injuries

Pain in the ball of your foot, toes sitting above the rest or have a large gap between them - you have have a plantar plate injury

The plantar plate is a ligament that sits underneath the metatarsophalangeal joints (the knuckle joints in our feet). This structure connects the metatarsal head to the proximal phalanx of the toe. The role of these ligaments are to stabilise the joint and hold our toes in place.


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An injury to the plantar plate can cause this ligament to tear or fully rupture and is one of many reasons you may experience pain in the ball of the foot. The most common mechanism for this injury to occur is through repetitive stress however if a large enough force is applied to this ligament this could cause tearing or rupture. Pain is commonly experienced underneath the joints of the foot when weight-bearing or during activities. 

In some cases a floating toe or peace sign can be present if the injury has gone untreated or a full rupture has occurred.


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Treatment for this condition can include:

  • Plantar plate taping
  • Foot orthoses
  • Carbon fibre plates
  • Activity and load management
  • Footwear changes or modifications.

It is important to get pain in the ball of the foot assessed by a podiatrist as this condition will not get better on its own. Certain biomechanical factors can contribute to an increase in pressure under the 2nd toe joint which is most commonly affected joint for this injury. These factors need to be addressed to get the best outcome and allow the ligament to heal.


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