Can A Plantar Plate Tear Heal Itself?

Can a plantar plate tear heal itself? If you got a small plantar plate tear, it can heal itself. The healing may take months or a year. 

Your plantar plate is the fibrocartilage structure found on the ball of your foot. It lets your foot absorb the forces of running and walking. Your plantar plate is prone to injury that can involve rupture or tear.      

What are the causes of a plantar plate tear? 

Your plantar plate is prone to injury, including rupture or tearing. A plantar plate tear is a foot injury that can occur due to repetitive overload. 

The risk for this foot condition includes wearing high-heeled shoes, walking barefoot on hard surfaces, and high-impact activities. If high pressure is placed on your metatarsals repeatedly, you can develop a plantar plate tear. 

Plantar plate tear can also be caused by the following:

  • Hammertoe
  • Rolling or over-pronation the feet inwards while running or walking
  • Hyper-mobility
  • Untreated bunion
  • Short first metatarsal or long second metatarsal bone
  • Ill-fitting running or casual shoes

The plantar plate tear symptoms include swelling on the top or under your foot, pain, and redness. If you got limp after activity, the severity of your foot injury might have increased. So, you should have it checked with a podiatrist immediately. 

A plantar plate tear is painful. Other symptoms include pain or tenderness at the MTP joint, misalignment of affected toes, and swelling. The pain worsens if the toes meet the floor or if you’re walking. 

A tear in the second metatarsal is also called pre- dislocation syndrome, floating toe syndrome, and crossover toe deformity. 

Can A Plantar Plate Tear Heal on it’s own?

Can A Plantar Plate Tear Heal Itself? As we mentioned earlier, a small plantar plate tear can heal itself. The healing period may take months or a year.

What are the treatments for a plantar plate tear? 

The following are the treatments for your plantar plate tear: 

Physical therapy 

Physical therapy can help with plantar plate tears. You can also try other treatment options, including taping, foot elevation, shoe wear modifications, immobilization, and custom-made orthotic and metatarsal pads. 

You can also take anti-inflammatory meds to reduce acute pain and swelling. You should also wear proper-fitting shoes to offer support. It can also help to minimize the activity that causes the injury. 

Splinting

You can also tape your joint and toe in the proper position to heal the tear. Splinting is best if you have a partial tear, not a complete ligament rupture. 

Shoes 

A softer, larger shoe with a supportive insert can also help with plantar plate tear. The shoes should also have a wide toe box for relieving direct or indirect pain and pressure from plantar plate tears. 

Custom molded orthotic or temporary arch support can also provide pressure relief. It might be a good option for long-term treatment of the injury. 

Surgery 

There are also surgical procedures for treating plantar plate tears. One example is radio-frequency, a medical technique using high temperatures in the injured area to provide a healing response. 

It helps to scar down your loose plantar plate. It is usually performed in treating grade 1 plantar plate tear. 

However, sewing the tear together can treat grade 2 and 3 plantar plate tears. Osteotomy and tendon transfer are performed for grade 4 plantar plate tears. 

You should be patient since healing with plantar plate tears takes time. It is better not to participate in heavy exercise and sports until it heals. 

How to diagnose a plantar plate tear? 

A plantar plate tear can be diagnosed through several physical examinations. MRI is considered the basic for the diagnosis of plantar plate condition. 

Ultrasound is also helpful for diagnosing the foot condition. The plantar plate tear is graded from 0 to 4 depending on its severity. Grade 0, being the least severe, is where the plate fibers are somehow stretched. 

Grade 1 plantar plate tear is where the plate was torn by less than 50%. In grade 2, the torn is over 50%. 

The grade 3 tear can be more extensive since it may involve collateral ligaments. In grade 4, the plantar plate is completely dislocated and disrupted. 

How long is the healing for the plantar plate tear?

Remember that a plantar plate tear may take time to heal compared to other injuries. It is because it carries your body weight force while walking. 

Non-weight bearing for around 6 to 8 weeks is the optimum treatment for the foot condition. 

Can a plantar plate tear be treated without surgical procedure

Yes, the plantar plate tear can be treated without surgical procedures if the tear is only partial. However, an MRI can be required if it’s a complete plantar plate tear.        

Non-weight walker for 6 to 8 weeks is also recommended to heal plantar plate tear. 

Is plantar plate tear serious? 

A plantar plate tear injury is a serious condition. If you don’t treat it early, your metatarsal phalangeal joint may be dislocated completely. It can also lead to degenerative joint disease. 

So, you should seek immediate help from a professional to treat your plantar plate tear to avoid worsening the injury.

Does a plantar plate a tendon? 

Your plantar plate is not a tendon. Instead, it’s a broad ligament at the bottom of your metatarsal-phalangeal joints. 

What is plantar plate degeneration? 

The plantar plate degeneration involves the weakening below your metatarsal phalangeal joint. It is caused by continual force on the ball of your foot, dorsiflexion injury, and extended metatarsal.  

Can you walk with a plantar plate tear?

Depending on the severity of your plantar plate tear, the doctor may recommend you refrain from walking barefoot to avoid aggravating the tear. 

Conclusion 

Generally, if you have a small plantar plate tear, it may heal on its own. It can heal for months or even a year. 

Treatments for this foot condition involve surgery and conservative care. You should also wear properly fitted shoes to prevent the injury from worsening.  You can check out our best shoes for the plantar fascia to heal your plantar plate tear and you can know about “Are Oofos Good for Plantar Fasciitis“.  

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