Plantar Plate Injury- Its causes and symptoms
Plantar Plate Injury is one of the most common causes of pain experienced in the ball of the foot. The plantar plate is a thick ligament structure on the ball of the foot that provides stability to the toe, cushions the foot during weight-bearing activities and helps bring the toe to the floor when standing.
These can also be particularly common in dancers, runners and also experienced by mature-aged women whose feet tend to roll in. You can also be more prone to developing one if you tend to over-pronate (roll your feet inwards), have a bunion or hammer toe, or have a particularly long second metatarsal. Sometimes this can be present due to trauma to the toes. Most people make a full recovery within a few months.
How does it feel?
Plantar plate injuries cause pain under the ball of the foot (forefoot). Typically, the pain is restricted to an area no bigger than the size of a 20 cent coin. The pain will generally get worse the longer you stand on your feet and feel better when you rest. You may notice some swelling under or on top of the forefoot. Sometimes this swelling can impinge on nerves causing a numb sensation in the forefoot. You may even notice your toe deviating slightly.
Causes of Plantar Plate Injury
The most common causes of Plantar Plate Injury are:
- Excessive loads placed through the forefoot, impacting the plantar plates.
- Footwear that doesn’t fit properly.
- A short first metatarsal.
- A long second or third metatarsal.
- Imbalances in the foot and biomechanical issues.
- Untreated pigeon toe.
- Arthritis of the big toe.
- Bunions that push on the second toe.
Moreover, plantar plate problems usually develop gradually and are best treated in the early stages. Often, a custom soft full-length orthotic, and wearing the right footwear, can prevent the problem from progressing. A more acute injury may require imaging such as Xray and Ultrasound to assess the severity of the injury, paticularly if there has been an episode of trauma.
Are you experiencing this condition? One of our podiatrist can assist and recommend what treatment options are best to get you back on track. ✅
We hope you have a feetastic day! 👣☀️
-The Chelsea Clinic and Team