There is a peculiar sensation that may occur underneath the forefoot which is commonly described as a sense that a sock is bunched up beneath the toes, but if you looked at it, it is fine. The sense is frequently described and is typically puzzling. Most likely the sensation is caused by a problem with a ligament on the base of one or more of the metatarsophalangeal (toe) joints of the foot called plantar plate dysfunction. Around each joint, there is a strong covering called the joint capsule. Regions of each joint capsule are thicker which are the ligaments that protect and stabilise the joints. Under the base of the metatarsophalangeal joints, that joint capsule is thicker to make what is called the plantar plate. You possibly can strain and even get a small split in that plantar plate, which produces that experience of a sock which feels as though its bunched up under the toes.
The symptoms of a plantar plate tear usually starts off slowly under the ball of the foot and could be preceded with that strange scrunched sock sense. The common symptom of plantar plate dysfunction is pain on palpation of the vicinity of the plantar plate. An experienced clinician can slowly move the joint in a way to identify when the plantar plate is injured. A definitive diagnosis can be carried out having a diagnostic ultrasound, however it is pretty obvious to a experienced clinician on examination. Usually the first treatment solutions are taping to hold the toe pointing down to relieve the stress on the ligament. A metatarsal pad can be frequently used to help reduce the stress on the . This usually helps most cases of plantar plate dysfunction and get rid of that unusual sensation of a bunched up sock below the ball of the foot. If those conservative measures do not help, surgical repair of a partial or complete split of the plantar plate is sometimes done.