The plantar plate is a fibrous like structure that is located on the plantar side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the feet. Biologically these are just like the meniscus within the knee which means these are meant to withstand a great deal of compressive forces and support the joint surfaces. It is a a thickening of the bottom part of the capsule which is all around that joint to hold the joint lubricant within the joint. The vast majority of fibres inside it are aligned longitudinally in the identical path as the foot points, so it can tolerate a lot of load forces. The collateral ligaments on both sides of the joint furthermore attach to the plantar plate, to help provide the joint improved stability. The role of the plantar plate is to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion at the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Because this plantar plate is built to resist those great forces, occasionally the forces can be so high or the ligament weakens for many different causes, it might turn out to be painful or perhaps have a little split in it. This isn't ordinarily something which comes about quickly and builds up slowly with time. The pain sensation is mostly on weightbearing beneath the joint at the bottom of the toe. Palpation of that location is usually rather painful. Frequently the diagnosis might be validated with an ultrasound evaluation. In the past the signs and symptoms might have just been disregarded as a metatarsalgia which is not really a diagnosis and simply signifies pain around the metatarsals. Currently far more is understood about this plantar plate and how it produces symptoms, the procedure may be better aimed to repair it. The main element to correcting this condition is to reduce stress on the plantar plate and to do that the toe really needs to be kept in a plantarflexed posture with taping. This often handles most all cases.