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Plantar Plate Tears and its Treatment

Are you suffering from plantar plate tears and want to know about this condition and its treatment? 

Then here are the things you must know about plantar plate tears.

What is Plantar Plate Tear?

The plantar plate is a fibrocartilaginous structure on the bottom of the knuckle called the metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ).  

This ligament keeps your toe in the correct position, preventing them from sideway flexion and overstretching (also known as hyperextension). 

This ligament also prevents your toe from drifting and supports the joint in place.

Your plantar plate may get torn due to an injury or overstretching. It also tears up with age because the ligaments weaken with the passage of time.
But the good news is: this condition can be treated in many ways, and you can get back to normal walking. 

Here we have discussed all treatment options for plantar plate tears that will help you better understand this condition.

Treatment Options for Plantar Plate Tears

Dr Kim will discuss treatment options for plantar plate tears depending on the severity of the tear and how your tear occurred. Here we have discussed them briefly:

● Orthotics

You can wear custom-made orthotics on your foot to offload the pressure from the affected plantar plate. 

These orthotics are used widely to solve foot problems and relieve your foot while walking. 

All the pressure while walking is redistributed and transferred to the archway, keeping it away from the ball of your foot.

You must stop your sports activities until your plantar plate tear completely recovers. 

You can opt for this effective option after consulting your doctor.

● Footwear

Doctors recommend customized footwear to reduce excessive pressure in the plantar plate.  Your footwear will support the affected area, keeping the ground reaction force away from it.  

Dr Kim recommends HOKA One One for plantar plate tears.

HOKA One One provide a forefoot locker and midfoot stability that reduce forefoot pressure and therefore relieve pain from plantar plate tear.

It would be best to use the recommended footwear until the torn ligaments recover entirely.

● Ribbon Taping

This method supports your toe of the respective affected ligament using tape. 

This tape is placed on your toe in a ribbon shape to prevent your toe from dorsoflexion (flexion of the finger on the dorsal side of your foot). 

If the tear is much more severe, Dr Kim might recommend taping along with orthotics, and special foot wears.

● Braces

In this method, the braces are used to treat plantar plate tears. These braces decrease your forefoot’s range of motion, reduce the load
and pressure on the injured plantar plate, and help it recover fast. 

These braces are also effective for treating torn ligaments and relieving pain. You may find some of the available plantar plate braces here.

● Surgery

Surgery is the last option you are left with when your toe still remains painful after opting for all other options.

Two types of surgeries are performed in this condition:

1. Plantar Plate Repair with metatarsal osteotomy

In this surgery, an incision is done on the top or bottom of your toe. The surgeon may shorten your metatarsal bone to take pressure off the joint. 

Sutures are used to repair the plantar plate, and this is done through little bone tunnels in your toe’s bone. 

A pin may be placed across the toe to prevent your toe from bending and allowing the plantar plate to heal. This pin is usually removed four to six weeks after the surgery.

2. Tendon Transfer

This type of surgery is performed when your ligament is damaged entirely and is unable to heal. 

Your ligament can be injured permanently when you don’t go for on-time treatment.

In this surgery, the flexor tendon is transferred to the top of the toe, supporting and holding it down. 

A pin is also placed on your toe to allow the healing process.

Recovery Time
Recovery of plantar plate tears takes a few months, depending on your activities, methods, and severity level. 

For chronic conditions, it takes more than six months for complete recovery.


We hope you have got much information and help from our side. Keep an essential point in mind; always consult with a specialist podiatric surgeon, Dr Kim, for the best options and recommendations. 

Dr Kim will recommend the best and risk-free method according to your age, activities, and other factors: then you will get recovery from
plantar plate tears soon.