The plantar plate is a fibrous like structure that is situated on the bottom side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the feet. Anatomically these are just like the meniscus within the knee indicating they are built to hold up against a lot of compressive loads and retain the joint surfaces. It's a a thickening of the plantar surface of the joint capsule which is all around that joint to keep the joint lubricant inside the joint. Almost all of the fibres in it are oriented longitudinally in the identical path as the foot points, so it may endure a lot of tension forces. The collateral ligaments on both sides of the joint additionally attach to the plantar plate, to help give the joint more stability. The role of the plantar plate is to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion of the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Since this plantar plate is made to stand up to those great forces, sometimes the forces may be so high or the plate is weakened for several different explanations, it may become painful or even have a small split in it. This is not usually a thing that takes place abruptly and develops slowly with time. The discomfort is invariably on weightbearing beneath the joint at the base of the toe. Palpation of that area is invariably rather painful. Frequently the diagnosis might be verified having an ultrasound evaluation. In the past the signs and symptoms will often have just been written off as a metatarsalgia which is not truly a diagnosis and just indicates pain round the metatarsals. Today much more is known regarding this plantar plate and just how it makes symptoms, the procedure may be far better aimed to correct it. The important thing to solving this condition is to reduce force on the plantar plate and to do this the toe must be held in a plantarflexed posture with taping. This usually manages most cases.