What is a plantar plate injury in the foot?

Metatarsalgia is a commonly used term that does not mean much. The metatarsals are the long bones behind the toes in the feet and the suffix -algia indicates pain, so metatarsalgia means pain in the metatarsals region. That is pretty useless as a medical diagnosis because pain is usually due to, literally, 100’s of various things. To use the phrase metatarsalgia is like using the phrase ‘sore knee’. It is not a diagnosis and is just a non-specific word for symptoms in the ball of the foot. This will be relevant as getting the diagnosis correct is very significant and the first step in getting the treatment right. There isn't a treatment for metatarsalgia. There's treatment with regard to the various disorders that cause pain around the metatarsals.

Quite possibly the most prevalent cause of symptoms in this area is a condition referred to as a plantar plate tear. The plantar plate is a strong ligament under the joints in the ball of the feet that give firmness to the joint and secure it. When there is too much a amount of exercise and the toes get retracted or dorsiflexed too much, then that ligament could get strained causing is what is called plantar plate dysfunction. In the event that stress continues on then a small tear could happen in the ligament. Another cause for pain is this region can be what is called sesamoiditis that is some irritation of the tissue all around the small sesamoid bones on the bottom of the great toe. Sesamoiditis is frequently due to a lot of pressure on those bones, resulting in the irritation. Simply from these two examples it ought to be apparent that they're two completely different conditions that could get lumped under that worthless term, metatarsalgia. The therapy of these two conditions are totally different, so it ought to be no surprise that that word should no longer be used.