February 2011

Weil Institute receives ACFAS grant to study MRI of plantar plate injuries

Researchers from the Weil Foot & Ankle Institute in Des Plaines, IL, in January were named the recipients of a Clinical and Scientific Research Grant from the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons to study the diagnostic value of magnetic resonance imaging for plantar plate injuries.

The research team includes Lowell Scott Weil, Sr., DPM, Lowell Weil, Jr., DPM, and Wenjay Sung, DPM. The study will assess utilization of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in evaluating injury to the plantar plate and determining whether conventional MRI is a reliable tool for diagnostic evaluation, referencing the surgical findings.

The plantar plate is the principal sagittal plane stabilizer of the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) and any compromise to the integrity of the plate can lead to wearing and rupture of this joint. Plantar plate tears often contribute to metatarsalgia, leading to chronic instability, subluxations, and dislocations. A plantar plate rupture can be either acute, due to a hyperextension injury, or chronic in nature, secondary to chronic metatarsal overload.

The Weil Foot & Ankle Institute practitioners have developed a new surgical technique for correction of 2nd MTP instability, utilizing a dorsal approach for plantar plate repair in conjunction with a Weil osteotomy. Preliminary results in 13 patients, reported at the 2010 meeting of the ACFAS, indicated a 72% improvement in pain associated with the new procedure.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ Clinical and Scientific Research Grant provides financial assistance to members studying clinical or laboratory-based research on foot and ankle issues that will have an impact on the future of patient care.

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