Plantar Plate Repair Patient After Surgery | Annapolis PodiatristThe foot is a complex piece of machinery. While it is designed to withstand a great deal of stress and pressure, it has its limits. If you are physically active or your job requires a lot of standing and heavy lifting, the pressure you put on your feet could do some damage to the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet.

One common injury among people who demand a lot from their feet is a plantar plate injury. Located in the ball of the foot, plantar plates connect the toes to the rest of the foot. If one of these plates is injured, you will lose stability in your foot and experience considerable pain. If you sprain or tear your plantar plate, plantar plate repair can prevent further damage, minimize pain, and restore your mobility.

What Is Plantar Plate Repair?

Plantar plate repair is a type of podiatric surgery that corrects damage to a torn or sprained plantar plate. The plantar plate is a fibrous ligament located in the ball of your foot that supports the metatarsophalangeal joints. Often, plantar plate injuries occur due to general wear and tear. They can affect anyone but usually occur due to overpronation or rolling the foot inward.

What Are the Symptoms of a Plantar Plate Injury?

Common symptoms of a plantar plate injury include:

  • Pain that worsens when you wiggle or move your toes
  • Swelling or redness near the toes
  • Shifting of the toe bones
  • A sensation that you're walking on the bones of your foot

If you experience a plantar plate injury, it might also feel like your toes don't have enough support or cushioning.

Who Is a Candidate for Plantar Plate Repair?

To determine if you're a candidate for plantar plate repair, our doctors will review your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including when they occur, their severity, and if any activities seem to make them worse. After gathering this information, your provider physically examines your feet and toes and orders diagnostic imaging like X-rays or an MRI.

Annapolis Foot & Ankle Center recommends conservative, noninvasive treatments like physical therapy, custom orthotics, or toe splints whenever possible. If your symptoms persist or worsen, plantar plate repair may be necessary.

What Does Plantar Plate Repair Involve?

Annapolis Foot & Ankle Center performs plantar plate repair on an outpatient basis. Before treatment, your provider administers general anesthesia, putting you to sleep. Once you're comfortable, they make a small incision at the top of your foot, inserting special tools through the incision and repairing your damaged plantar plate.

Most plantar plate repair procedures take between 45-60 minutes. After repairing the ligament, your provider inserts a screw or wire to hold the ligament in place. Then, they stitch up the incision and move you to an observation room.

Following Plantar Plate Repair, What Is Recovery Like?

Recovery from plantar plate repair typically takes between four and eight weeks. While you recover, it's important to keep weight off of your foot. Use your crutches, attend each physical therapy appointment, and take any medication as prescribed.

Nicholas Fifelski, DPM
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Experienced Annapolis podiatrist specializing in all sports injuries, wound care, and ankle fracture surgery.