The plantar plate is a thick, fibrous soft tissue structure that helps to stabilize each digit at the ball of the foot; it connects the proximal phalanx bases to their respective metatarsal bones. Injuries to this structure can vary in severity. Acute tearing of the structure can occur with rapid hyperextension of the digit, while chronic tears occur over time due to exposure of the soft tissue to repetitive activity-based stress. The injury leads to deviation, malalignment, instability and pain of the associated digit. This is sometimes referred to as a cross-over toe deformity.
Conservative care options are available to help temporarily stabilize the affected joint, but these methods do not provide permanent repair of the underlying torn tissues. Surgical intervention is the gold standard for treatment and is required to properly restore anatomic alignment. Surgery is typically carried out utilizing a specialized instrument system developed to repair this specific injury.