Located in the foot, just beneath where the toes meet the rest of the foot, are the plantar plates. These ligaments are responsible for most of the weight bearing and balance in the human body. Plantar plates are essentially the ball of your foot, and are associated with pain there.
Tears can occur for any number of reasons, the most common causes are over-extension of the toes, harsh direct impacts to the plates themselves, and extensive walking in restrictive shoes. People suffering from tears often describe the sensation of “walking directly on bone”.
In order to diagnose a plantar plate tear, your doctor will most often request that you take an X-ray. Depending on the severity of the tear, surgery may or may not be required. Most commonly, anti-inflammatories and rest can clear up minor tears. Orthotics like shoe inserts can also help prevent tears by supporting sections of the foot.