There are many treatment options available to fix a Plantar Plate. Plantar Plates and ligaments that can tear or sprain. It is important to understand that by definition a Sprain is an over-stretched or torn ligament. This is much different than a Strain which is an over-stretched or torn muscle. Some Plantar Plate tear/sprain treatments are less effective than others. Some are more conservative than others and still some are more expensive than others.
Step 1 to Fix a Plantar Plate: Remove the Aggravating Variable
To fix a Plantar Plate you must remove the variable that is either causing your plantar plate pain or contributing to it. For example; if running is irritating it and you keep running it will worsen and may lead to permanent damage to the Plantar Plate ligament. Another example would be high heels. If high heels are aggravating your Plantar Plate then you must stop wearing them.
Step 2 to Fix a Plantar Plate: Rest
Rest from activity, especially those activities that require running, jumping, walking or any other weight bearing activity. If you are on your feet at work and this is aggravating your Plantar Plate it may be necessary to take time off or request a modified job position until you heal. No amount of ice or Ibuprofen will help if you do not rest and aggravate your Plantar Plate tear/sprain.
Crutches for Plantar Plate Sprains or Tears
It may be necessary to be non-weight bearing for a period of time. This will usually be dictated by the severity of the Plantar Plate tear/sprain. Crutches are cheap and effective. Other methods include wheelchairs, knee scooters and Peg-Legs.
Walking Boot for Plantar Plates
Walking boots that have a stiff soled rocker bottom might be your best option instead of crutches. There are many types and varieties of walking boots but the variable that makes them effective in treating Plantar Plate tears or sprains is a stiff soled, rocker bottom which prevents loading and flexing the Plantar Plate. As the Plantar Plate heals it might be possible to transition to a rocker bottom walking or running shoe.
Step 3 to Fix a Plantar Plate: Over the Counter Orthotics
Over the counter orthotics are a cheap but usually ineffective method to fix Plantar Plate tears or sprains. If the over the counter orthotic is going to have a chance at being effective it must have a metatarsal pad and must be comfortable. If the orthotic or metatarsal pad irritates the Plantar Plate you will not be able to heal. San Diego Running Institute can help you place or move a metatarsal pad on your existing orthotic.
Step 4 to Fix a Plantar Plate: Custom Orthotics
Custom orthotics can be an effective treatment to fix Plantar Plate tears/sprains. In order to be effective they must fit into your shoes, be comfortable and have a metatarsal pad as part of the custom orthotic design. Proper height, size, density and location of the metatarsal pad is critical to it being effective. If you have custom orthotics that are uncomfortable, do not fit into your shoes or aggravate your Plantar Plate you will be unable to heal. If you have an uncomfortable or ineffective pair of custom orthotics either without a metatarsal pad or with an uncomfortable metatarsal pad they may be able to be modified for a fraction of the cost off new custom orthotics. San Diego Running Institute has its own orthotic lab and can modify or make you an effective pair of orthotics to fix your Plantar Plate within one week.