Does the ball of your foot have pain or swelling when walking or standing? Often shoes that are too tight or do not fit properly can cause this, but you could have a plantar plate tear in other cases. A plantar plate tear is hard to diagnose and can present as other conditions or problems, such as a neuroma or stress fracture.
The fibrous ligament located beneath the base of your toes, the plantar plate, helps support and stabilize the toes. It also connects other important ligaments and tendons in the foot. The foot is a complex, flexible structure that contains bones, joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all working together to enable movement and balance. The ligament is damaged or ruptured when the plantar plate has an issue.
A plantar plate tear happens when the foot is overused, or there is repetitive stress. It can also occur due to a fall or sudden impact that jars the foot.
Beyond the swelling or pain, a toe may feel unstable or be separated from the adjacent toes. When left untreated, a toe or joint can become completely dislocated. Toes can also cross over one another as a result of the condition.
At Healthmark, your podiatrist will evaluate the symptoms and condition and treat the plantar plate tear appropriately to help reduce the pain and swelling with one or more of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Bracing or Boot
- Surgery (extremely hard to repair)
An ultrasound, MRI, or X-ray may be ordered to diagnose the plantar plate tear. This condition is very misdiagnosed, as many patients see a podiatrist thinking they have a neuroma, but it can be a plantar plate tear or both a tear and neuroma. See your Healthmark physician if you are experiencing pain in the ball of your foot.