Plantar plate of the foot: findings on conventional arthrography and MR imaging

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1994 Sep;163(3):641-4. doi: 10.2214/ajr.163.3.8079860.


The plantar plate of the foot is formed by the plantar aponeurosis and plantar capsule. The plantar plate arises from the distal plantar aspect of the metatarsal neck and inserts on the plantar aspect of the proximal phalangeal base. This thick plate supports the undersurface of the metatarsal head and resists hyperextension of the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) [1]. Plantar plate rupture may present as lesser metatarsalgia (the lesser metatarsals are the second through fifth), occasionally with exuberant synovitis. Plantar plate derangement also plays a central role in the genesis of the common hammertoe [2, 3]. Rupture or degeneration of the plantar plate destabilizes the MTPJ, allowing dorsal subluxation of the proximal phalanx. The resulting "cock-up" deformity at the MTPJ shortens and compromises the action of the extensor digitorum longus tendon, contributing over time to a flexion deformity at the interphalangeal joints.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthrography
  • Female
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired / diagnosis*
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired / etiology
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Metatarsal Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Metatarsal Bones / pathology*
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rupture
  • Shoes / adverse effects
  • Synovitis / diagnosis*
  • Synovitis / etiology