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Foot Ankle Int. 1994 May;15(5):276-82.

The plantar plate of the lesser toes: an anatomical study in human cadavers.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30365.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anatomic structure and biochemical composition of the plantar plate of the lesser toes. Fresh frozen-human cadaveric feet were used to study 20 metatarsophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal plantar plates. The observations of foot dissections were compared with the finger volar plate. The plantar plate of the toe is a rectangular structure with a stout distal insertion and relatively flimsy proximal origin. The anatomic relationships to adjacent structures and composition are similar between the volar plates of the fingers and plantar plates of the toes. The plantar plate is known to experience extension forces that the volar plate does not experience. The weightbearing nature of the foot and forces imposed by toe-off may create chronic hyperextension of the metatarsophalangeal joint and predispose the plantar plate to attenuation or rupture, thus leading to instability of the metatarsophalangeal joint. These findings may explain in part the clinical condition of spontaneous metatarsophalangeal joint dislocation, most commonly found in the second toe.

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