Plantar Plate Pathology

What is Plantar Plate Pathology (Plantar Plate Tear)?

The plantar plate is a fibrocartilaginous anatomical structure that provides stability to the metatarsophalangeal joint.

Pathology of the plantar plate occurs with increased pressure or strain in the structure. The resulting increased force in the plantar plate causes stretching or tearing.

When the plantar plate has stretched or torn the support for the particular toe is reduced and the toe becomes unstable.

This commonly presents as pain on the ball of the foot and may also present with visible deformity of the toe.

Plantar plate tear ultrasound

What causes Plantar Plate Pathology (Plantar Plate Tear)?

Plantar plate damage is typically as a result of increased strain within the structure or from increased pressure. This can be from, poor footwear, digital deformity or trauma to the toe such as kicking the bedside table.


Diagnosis of Plantar Plate Pathology (Plantar Plate Tear)

Diagnosis is usually based or symptoms and a complete assessment of your foot and ankle.

At the Foot an Ankle Centre we are able to provide additional information about the presence of plantar plate damage with ultrasound imaging.

Typically a plantar plate tear will present as a discontinuity of the fibres within the plantar plate as shown in the video and picture  below.

Plantar plate tear ultrasound

Plantar plate tear ultrasound Plantar plate tear ultrasound


Treatment of Plantar Plate Pathology (Plantar Plate Tear)

Treatment of  plantar plate pathology is difficult as typically the structure will not repair itself.

Management therefore concentrate on reducing the pain by offloading and supporting the toe this can be in the form of

  • Digital taping to hold the toe straight
  • Budin Loop Splints to hold the toe straight
  • Metatarsal domes to offload the forefoot (reduced pressure on the plantar plate.
  • Custom made Orthotics with a metatarsal dome incorporated into the design to offload the forefoot (reducing the pressure on the plantar plate)
    Plantar Plate Pathology


  • Shoe stretching and modification



The Ankle, Foot and Orthotic Centre’s Northcote Podiatrists can help you with all lower limb complaints, including Plantar Plate Tears and Plantar Plate Pathology. Make an appointment to get your foot and ankle pain under control.

Expert Podiatrists for the treatment of Plantar Plate Tears and Plantar Plate Pathology servicing the areas of Northcote, Thornbury, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Carlton, North Carlton, Alphington, Fairfield, Brunswick, Coburg and Preston

Call The Ankle and Foot Centre in Northcote for further advice on professional management and treatment options.