Phone: 817-697-4038 Fax: 877-409-3962


If you’ve experienced an injury or suffer from serious pain, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What is a plantar plate? 

The metatarsophalangeal joints, also known as the principal joints of the foot, make up the ball of the foot. Additionally, each of these joints contains a structure called the plantar plate, which attaches to the proximal phalanx and the metatarsal head. Moreover, this fibrocartilaginous structure stabilizes the metatarsophalangeal joint and prevents the toes from drifting up or overextending from the ground.


How does a plantar plate injury happen?

Additionally, the most common cause of a this condition is an overload of pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joint. When an overload of pressure on the joint occurs, this leads to an eventual strain and attenuation, or weakening of the structure, then lastly a tear in the plantar plate. Furthermore, the tear causes pain, instability, and functional changes to the toe. Moreover, this injury can occur in the presence of a bunion, to which the big toe (hallux) can drift over toward the 2nd toe causing the toe to lift up and dislocate. 

What are the symptoms of a plantar plate injury?

In addition, plantar plate injury symptoms typically include pain at the ball of the foot, instability of the toe, a dull ache, and swelling to the ball of the foot. However, if left untreated, a chronic plantar plate injury can lead to the early onset of lesser metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ) arthritis or complete dislocation of the MPJ.

What are some treatment options of a plantar plate injury?

With the diagnosis of diagnosis from a physician through a physical examination and advanced imaging like MRI or ultrasound, physicians recomment initial conservative management. This usually involves resting, icing, taping the toe in a plantarflexed (downward) position, and making accommodative shoe gear modifications and padding to offload the weight of the MPJ. Physical therapy may be prescribed for several weeks to address areas of pain, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended to alleviate pain and swelling.

In cases where advanced diagnostic imaging reveals clear evidence of a partial or complete tear of the plantar plate, surgical treatment is typically necessary to correct the problem. Your foot and ankle surgeon will typically discuss their approach to repairing the plantar plate injury with you.

If you have any questions for our DFW orthopedic specialists, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Tele-medicine appointments are also available.