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01-12-2016 | Review | Uitgave 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2016

Metatarsophalangeal joint stability: a systematic review on the plantar plate of the lesser toes

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2016
Nico M. G. Maas, Margot van der Grinten, Wichor M. Bramer, Gert-Jan Kleinrensink
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13047-016-0165-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Instability of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints of the lesser toes (digiti 2–5) is increasingly being treated by repair of the plantar plate (PP). This systematic review examines the anatomy of the plantar plate of the lesser toes, and the relation between the integrity of the plantar plates of the lesser toes and lesser MTP joint stability.


The databases of, Medline (Ovid), Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane, Pubmed not medline, Cinahl (ebsco), ProQuest, Lilacs, Scielo and Google Scholar were searched in June 2015 from inception. Studies were included if they were in English, contained primary data, and had a focus on plantar plate anatomy of the lesser toes or on the relationship between integrity of the plantar plate and MTP joint (in)stability. Study characteristics were extracted into two main tables and descriptive anatomical and histological data were summarized into one schematic 3D drawing of the plantar plate.


Nine studies were included in this systematic review, of which five addressed plantar plate anatomy as such and four focused directly and indirectly on plantar plate integrity related to MTP joint stability.


This is the first systematic review regarding plantar plate anatomy related to MTP joint stability of the lesser toes. This review iterates the importance of plantar plate anatomy and integrity for MTP joint stability, and it delineates the lack of primary data regarding plantar plate anatomy of the lesser toes and MTP joint stability.

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