The plantar plate is a fibrous like framework that is found on the plantar side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the foot. Anatomically they are like the meniscus from the knee which means they are created to stand up to lots of compressive loads and support the joint surfaces. It is just a a thickening of the plantar surface of the capsule that surrounds that joint to hold the joint lubricant inside the joint. The majority of the fibres inside it are aligned longitudinally in the identical path as the foot points, so it will be able to tolerate a lot of tension forces. The collateral ligaments on both edges of the joint furthermore connect to the plantar plate, to help provide the joint greater stability. The role of the plantar plate is to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion at the metatarsophalangeal joint.
As this plantar plate is built to withstand those great forces, occasionally the forces may be so great or the tissues weakens for many possible explanations, it can become painful and even have a tiny split in it. This isn't ordinarily something that happens quickly and builds up slowly with time. The pain is frequently on weightbearing under the joint at the base of the toe. Palpation of that region is mostly rather painful. Often the diagnosis can be verified by having an ultrasound examination. Previously the signs and symptoms might have just been disregarded as a metatarsalgia which isn't actually a diagnosis and just implies pain throughout the metatarsals. Now a lot more is understood concerning this plantar plate and the way it makes symptoms, the treatment may be much better aimed to repair it. The important thing to fixing this issue is to reduce force on the plantar plate and to do this the toe really needs to be held in a plantarflexed location with taping. This usually takes care of many cases.