Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we’re talking about how your running shoe insert can actually show whether or not you’re at risk of a plantar plate sprain.
One of the worst injuries you can get when you’re a runner is a thing called a plantar plate sprain. It’s a stretching, a straining, a tearing of this tiny little ligament at the ball of the foot called the plantar plate. And every time I see a runner in person who has a plantar plate sprain, or every time I do a consultation over webcam with somebody who has a plantar plate sprain, and they’re trying to get a second opinion, I tell them to do one simple thing. I say, get your running shoe. Go get it, right now, preferably one you’ve been running in for a long time, not a brand new one. The new one won’t help you. You need an old one.
So, what I have them do is I basically say, “Okay, I want you to take your running shoe insert, and I want you to pull it out and look at it.” And when you look at it, you can actually see a wear pattern, right? You can see the big toe is right here. You should be able to see that, I think. There’s a big wear pattern for that. There is a wear pattern where your heel is, and then the ball of the foot has this big wear pattern here.
When people have a plantar’s plate sprain at the second toe, the area where the second metatarsal and the plantar plate ligament is hitting the insert is clearly worn more. Oftentimes, it’s abraded so that you can see the foam. It’s almost worn a hole through the insert. It looks different, it’s darker, it’s flatter, it’s squished.
If you look at it from the side, you can see that there’s a big depression right there. And looking at the insert can tell you you have way too much pressure on that structure right there. And if you know that you can do some stuff to reduce the stress and strain to that structure so it doesn’t continue aggravating the plantar plate.
The plantar plate course shows you, of course, all the ways to do that. But in short, when I got a plantar plate sprain, I actually took a pad, modified it, put it in my shoe, took some of the pressure off that area. And within a few days, I was running again. And I used that pad for a long time, but it allowed me to run a whole lot sooner and a whole lot more without irritating the plantar plate ligament and setting back the recovery process.
It’s really important that you take some of your running shoes and look at them to see, look, is there just a part that looks different on the insert, a part that looks like it’s worn more, it’s rubbed more, it’s dirtier, or whatever, that will indicate where the pressure really is? Because it tells you that’s where you need to remove the pressure if you’re trying to make a modification so you can keep running.
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