The plantar plate is a fibrous like framework which is located on the plantar side of the metatarsophalangeals (toe) joints of the feet. Anatomically these are the same as the meniscus from the knee indicating they are created to endure lots of compressive forces and retain the joint surfaces. It is just a a thickening of the plantar surface of the joint capsule which is all around that joint to maintain the joint lubricant in the joint. Almost all of the fibres inside it are oriented longitudinally in the similar direction as the foot points, so it might hold up against lots of load forces. The collateral ligaments on both sides of the joint furthermore attach to the plantar plate, to help give the joint more stability. The purpose of the plantar plate is to support the weight of the body and restricts dorsiflexion at the metatarsophalangeal joint.
Since this plantar plate was designed to resist those great forces, sometimes the forces can be so great or the ligament is weakened for many possible explanations, it may turn out to be painful or even have a tiny split in it. This isn't usually something that comes about abruptly and develops gradually over time. The discomfort is frequently on weightbearing underneath the joint at the bottom of the toe. Palpation of this place is invariably quite painful. Usually the diagnosis can be verified by having an ultrasound assessment. Previously the symptoms may have just been disregarded as a metatarsalgia which is not actually a diagnosis and simply indicates pain across the metatarsals. Now more is known concerning this plantar plate and just how it produces symptoms, the procedure could be better focused to correct it. The important thing to solving this problem is to reduce force on the plantar plate and to do this the toe is required to be kept in a plantarflexed placement with taping. This usually manages most instances.