By: Dr. Jaya Rajagopalan

Do you love wearing high heels and sometimes too-tight shoes?
And does that sometimes make your forefoot hurt? A lot?

Forefoot pain is a common condition that causes problems for many people. There are many common conditions associated with the pain in the forefoot, including bunions, hammer toes, neuromas, and more.

One less known aggravator is the plantar plate injury.

Forefoot pain can present as a burning sensation, aching, or throbbing. It often feels worse with activities such as yoga. It can also feel like a pebble is under your foot. Sometimes, the little toes will even “float” or “sit up” in comparison to the rest of its compadres. Over time, the toe may even drift to sit on top of its neighboring toe!

Does any of this sound familiar? Well, the culprit for your pain may be the plantar plate!

The plantar plate is a thick ligamentous band that holds the small bone at the base of the toe in line with the long bone of the foot. When the foot engages with the ground such that the force is unevenly distributed, this structure can become overwhelmed.

The problem with plantar plate injuries is they are often misdiagnosed or missed entirely. If caught at the right time, simple measures can help protect your foot health without invasive care!

Early onset can be treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation, and offloading. A good pair of shoes makes a huge difference – which includes remembering to replace shoes regularly! Imagine, a few bucks towards a good pair of shoes and orthotics can be enough to prevent a surgical problem. Orthotics can offer support to the foot and redistribute forces to prevent deforming injuries. Like a good pair of glasses, while they are on your feet, they help protect your foot until you forget you even have them on! Conservative measures such oral anti-inflammatories and topical creams can be game changers as well. When needed, surgical measures to fix the plantar plate can be used as a last option.

While plantar plate injuries can be debilitating, proper measures can help protect your toes for years to come!

For more information, and for the best care for your feet, our doctors at Southwest Austin Foot and Ankle Clinic today!