Can Plantar Plate Tears Be Treated Without Surgery?

Can Plantar Plate Tears Be Treated Without Surgery?

If you have been diagnosed with a plantar plate tear, it can be an upsetting time. While anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy can help alleviate your discomfort, surgery may be necessary in some cases for full recovery.

The plantar plate is a structure located beneath the metatarsal (heel) bones. It helps stabilize the joint that links your foot to your first and second toes.

When your foot is in proper alignment, this plate acts like a “tug of war” between other ligaments that stabilize this joint. This pull helps keep your toe straight and prevents it from drifting upward or sideways.

Exercise is also essential in avoiding hammertoes, or toes that tend to point downward even when at rest. Hammertoes can lead to painful, embarrassing and unattractive foot issues in the long run.

Hammertoes may lead to arthritis in the foot.

Shockwave therapy is an effective solution for those suffering from chronic or severe plantar plate tears. This therapy can be done either at your podiatry office or at home.

Custom foot orthotics and shoe inserts with hardened plastic under specific toes are another way to reduce pressure from an injured plantar plate. These can be particularly helpful for bunions and hammertoes, but may also benefit those with flat feet.

Vibration plates can provide temporary relief from pain without surgery for mild or partial plantar plate tears. These devices may be used as standalone treatments, or combined with other therapies to provide more comprehensive relief.

These devices can help reduce inflammation, strengthen muscles and joints, and enhance overall wellness and performance. It may even reduce back and joint pain by increasing blood flow to your feet.

It’s essential to be aware that some people can sustain plantar plate injuries from high impact activities such as running and pivoting sports. Furthermore, certain traumatic injuries may also cause plantar plate damage.

To determine if you have a plantar plate tear, we’ll perform various tests to evaluate your foot and identify what’s causing the pain. This may involve placing your foot in various positions to feel how it feels. Additionally, we use taping techniques to examine tendons and ligaments attaching your toes.

The doctor will then assess the strength of your plantar plate to ensure it remains intact. They can use a device known as “Lachman’s test” to determine whether it has been weakened or not.

If the doctor suspects a plantar plate tear, you can request an MRI. This will enable them to clearly view the damaged area and make a more precise diagnosis.

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