Plantar Plate Pathology

What is a plantar plate pathology?

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 where there is increase strain in the structure. This results in the plantar plate 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.

Causes of plantar plate pathology

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


Diagnosis of plantar plate pathology

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

Treatment of plantar plate pathology

Treatment of a plantar plate pathology is difficult as the structure generally will not repair itself. Management becomes about offloading and supporting the toe this can be in the form of

  • Digital taping
  • Budin Loop Splints
  • Orthotic Offloading
  • Shoe stretching and modification



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

Expert Podiatrists for the treatment of Plantar fasciitis 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.