Should I run with a pad for a plantar plate sprain? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s episode actually comes from a question sent in by Melissa. Now, she signed up for the Plantar Plate Masterclass and she asked a very specific question and she wanted to know, should I use a pad if I have a plantar plate sprain?
If you have a plantar plate injury where you have a little bit of pain and discomfort on the bottom of the foot, at the base of the second toe and you were told it’s a plantar plate sprain, or one of your buddies told you that it’s probably a plantar plate sprain, you might want to do a couple things. Number one, reduce the pressure, reduce the stress to that little ligament so it can heal faster and you can get back to running.
Now, one of the ways that you can reduce both the pressure and the strain is to remove the amount of pressure underneath it. Well, one way to do that is crutches. Obviously that’s not really helpful for most people but sometimes if you use a pad and you put it in your shoe insert and you put it in the right place, you can actually dramatically reduce the amount of direct pressure, the amount of strain, and the amount of stress on that ligament, and we know that that can help speed up the healing.
The trick with the pad is a couple of things. Number one, you have to make sure that it is in the right place. If it is in the right place, it will reduce the stress to the plantar plate ligament. If it is in the wrong place, it will actually make it worse. You also have to make sure that it’s really going to reduce the stress on the plantar plate throughout the gait cycle. If you put it in the right place and you’re standing and it feels okay, but when you move and your heel comes off the ground and the metatarsal head pulls back a little bit, if it pushes the plantar plate up against the edge of that pad, it can make it worse.
The pad has to be kind of a Goldilocks kind of thing, not too thick, not too thin, not too far back, not too far forward. It’s got to be in the right place and it’s got to be kind of perfect for it to work right. That’s part of what I show you how to do exactly where to put it, how to tell where to put it, all that kind of stuff in the Plantar Plate Sprain Course For Runners, but it’s a great question.
You’ve also got to make sure that the pad’s not going to damage anything else. If you make the pad too thick or you put it in an area where it puts too much stress and strain on different areas, you could potentially actually get a stress fracture on a different metatarsal. I also explained that to you in the course, but you’ve got to understand that. Many times, if a doctor puts the pad in your shoe for you, presumably it’s in the right place because a doctor did it but they may warn you, don’t go run on this because it may put too much stress and strain on the other structures and cause a different injury.
If you want to learn more about plantar plate injuries, specifically about runners, well come check out the Plantar Plate Masterclass. This is the same one that Melissa was watching when she came up with this question and wanted a little more detail on one of the topics in that talk.
This is a presentation that I created for you. It’s about half an hour in length, and we take a deep dive into all of the things you really ought to think about if you have a plantar plate injury and you want to get back to running as quickly as possible. If you sign up for it, you will also get on a list. So you will get notified whenever I’m going to do a live Q & A where you can come and ask me your specific questions about plantar plate injuries specifically and how they apply to runners.
Now, if you want to check it out, it’s free. Go to docontherun.com/plantarplatemasterclass and I’ll see you there.