The plantar plate is a fibrous like framework which is situated on the plantar side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the foot. Anatomically they are the same as the meniscus within the knee indicating they are designed to withstand a great deal of compressive forces and retain the joint surfaces. It's a a thickening of the plantar surface of the capsule that is all around that joint to help keep the joint lubricant inside the joint. Almost all of the fibres inside it are oriented longitudinally in the same path as the foot points, so it may resist a lot of load forces. The collateral ligaments on both edges of the joint additionally attach to the plantar plate, to help provide the joint better stability. The purpose of the plantar plate is to try to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion at the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Since this plantar plate is built to stand up to those great forces, sometimes the forces may be so high or the ligament is weakened for many different causes, it can become painful and even have a little tear in it. This isn't typically something which happens quickly and develops gradually with time. The pain sensation is usually on weightbearing underneath the joint at the base of the toe. Palpation of this region is frequently rather painful. Frequently the diagnosis might be verified having an ultrasound assessment. Previously the signs and symptoms may have just been dismissed as a metatarsalgia which isn't truly a diagnosis and simply signifies pain across the metatarsals. Today much more is known regarding this plantar plate and the way it produces symptoms, the treatment could be far better focused to remedy it. The main element to solving this condition is to relieve stress on the plantar plate and to do this the toe should be kept in a plantarflexed placement with taping. This often manages many cases.