A plantar plate tear is a fairly prevalent problem that creates pain underneath the ball of the foot. It is the final phase of a stress on the ligament underneath the joint which moves on to a tear if there is no treatment done. The cause of this condition is simply overuse. If that ligament beneath the joint get used too much with higher activity amounts, it will at first become painful after which progress to a tear. The symptoms are generally underneath and in front of the metatarsal head under the ball of the foot. The symptoms are worsened with larger amounts of exercise.
The ideal way to treat a plantar plate tear is by using strapping to hold the toe in a plantarflexed position and so the strain is removed from the ligament and it is given a chance to recover. It can be a bit annoying to keep taping the toe each day which could take many months to fully heal. For this reason, there are a variety of different kinds of braces that you can use. They are usually not really as good as the taping, however they could be more than effective if taping is needed in the early stages. This might ought to be kept up for a few months to have a good result. Orthotics in the shoes with metatarsal domes may also be used to help secure the toe down. If weightbearing is very painful, then pads on the orthotics can be used to keep weight of the painful place and at least that will make it bearable while healing takes place. Quite often this helps. Occasionally some anti-inflammatory medications and the use of ice may be required when it gets too painful may be needed. If this approach doesn't work, then surgical interventions really need to be considered to mend the tear, but most cases of a plantar plate tear do heal on their own.