A simple guide to plantar plate injuries

Pain in the ball of your foot?

Large gap between toes or toes sitting higher than the rest?

You might have a plantar plate injury.


What is the plantar plate?

The plantar plate is a ligament that sits beneath the metatarsophalangeal joints (along the ball of your foot). The plantar plate stabilises the joint and keeps the toes in place, stopping them from over-extending. 

An injury to the plantar plate can cause this ligament to tear or fully rupture. This can most commonly occur through repetitive stress or if a large amount of force is applied to the ligament.


How does a plantar plate injury present?

  • Usually aching or bruising pain will be felt to the top and bottom of the ball of the offending toe. 
  • Mild swelling may also present.
  • Pain will be increased when performing weight bearing activities such as running, barefoot walking and dancing. Pain will also increase if wearing high heels or flexible footwear
  • Pain will reduce with rest and non-weight
  • In some cases a ‘floating toe’ can be present if the injury is untreated for a period of time or a full rupture has occurred.



  • Taping of the plantar plate
  • Foot orthoses
  • Management of activity and load
  • Change in footwear or modifications 


For the best outcome and management of a plantar plate injury, this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Biomechanical factors can contribute to increased pressure beneath the second toe which is the most commonly affected joint for this type of injury. 


If you have any questions about plantar plate injury or wanting to know more, feel free to give us a call on 8468 2411 or via our here.