For the second season in a row, Blake Griffin missed the NBA playoffs - this time because of surgery to repair the plantar plate of the big toe on his right foot. The L.A. Clippers power forward tore his plantar plate during a playoff game against the Utah Jazz. His recovery should take between 6-12 weeks and the team expects him to be ready for next season's training camp.
Plantar Plate Tear Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot
This painful injury can happen to athletes but can also occur from simple overuse. The problem is that a plantar plate tear is often misdiagnosed.
The plantar plate is really a ligament on the bottom of your foot that serves to connect the long metatarsals at the base of your toes to your toe bones. This ligament protects your toes from over extending themselves and also keeps your toes in place.
If you have a plantar plate tear you will definitely know it, as it can be very painful. The pain may be sharp or a dull ache in the ball of the foot. Often the injury is accompanied by swelling and pain on the top of the foot.
Your foot will begin to look different as the tear in the ligament extends. Usually the second toe will move toward the big toe, causing more pain from the pressure on the toes.
Diagnosing and Treating a Plantar Plate Tear
The symptoms of a plantar plate tear can resemble those of other foot conditions like neuromas, hammertoes and capsulitis. If you have pain in the ball of your foot, please make an appointment to visit us at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute so an accurate diagnosis can be made.
We'll carefully examine your foot and assess the degree of pain and deformity in your big toe joint. We'll take x-rays right in the office to check for arthritis and confirm the extent of the deformity. More testing such as an ultrasound or MRI may be required to verify the extent of damage.
In the early stages, relieving excess pressure from the ligament area can allow it to heal. A surgical boot can take that pressure off the ball of the foot and custom-fitted orthotics will help redistribute the pressure. Taping the toe to reposition it downward can also be effective.
If our examination shows that the drift of the toe is substantial, the stretching of the ligaments may be too much to heal properly, requiring surgery to move the toe back to its correct position as in Blake Griffin's case.
Let Us Help with Your Toe or Ball of the Foot Pain
Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat plantar plate tears as well as all other types of foot and ankle injuries and conditions. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County. You can also request an appointment at the website. A plantar plate tear won't heal and will only get worse - call us today!