The plantar plate is a fibrous like framework that is found on the bottom side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the feet. Structurally these are similar to the meniscus in the knee which means they are built to endure a lot of compressive loads and retain the joint surfaces. It is a a thickening of the plantar surface of the capsule which is all around that joint to keep the joint lubricant inside the joint. The vast majority of fibers inside it are aligned longitudinally in the similar direction as the foot points, so it may resist lots of tension forces. The collateral ligaments on both sides of the joint additionally connect to the plantar plate, to help give the joint greater stability. The purpose of the plantar plate is to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion of the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Because this plantar plate is made to stand up to those high forces, in some cases the forces can be so high or the structure is weakened for many different causes, it might become painful or maybe have a small split in it. This isn't generally something which takes place quickly and develops gradually with time. The pain sensation is invariably on weightbearing beneath the joint at the base of the toe. Palpation of that area is frequently rather painful. Frequently the diagnosis can be verified having an ultrasound evaluation. Previously the signs and symptoms could have just been written off as a metatarsalgia which is not actually a diagnosis and merely means pain round the metatarsals. Today more is known regarding this plantar plate and just how it produces symptoms, the treatment may be far better focused to repair it. The main element to repairing this issue is to reduce force on the plantar plate and to do that the toe needs to be kept in a plantarflexed placement with strapping. This often handles most instances.