There is a strange sensation that may happen beneath the forefoot which is commonly referred to as a sense that a sock is bunched up under the toes, however when you checked it it is not. The feeling is frequently described and it is typically baffling. Most likely the actual sensation is caused by an issue with a ligament on the base of one or more of the metatarsophalangeal (toe) joints of the foot known as plantar plate dysfunction. About every joint, there's a strong covering named the joint capsule. Parts of each joint capsule are thicker which are the ligaments that secure and stabilise the joints. Under the bottom of the metatarsophalangeal joints, that joint capsule is thicker to make what is called the plantar plate. You possibly can strain or even get a small split in that plantar plate, which in turn causes that sensation of a sock that feels like its bunched up below the toes.
The symptoms usually commences slowly and gradually under the ball of the foot and may be preceded with that peculiar scrunched sock sense. The typical characteristic of plantar plate dysfunction is pain on palpation in the area of the plantar plate. An experienced clinician will be able to slowly move the joint in a manner to detect if the plantar plate is impaired. A definitive diagnosis can be performed using a diagnostic ultrasound, however it is fairly apparent to a competent clinician on assessment. Normally the initial treatment is taping to hold the toe pointing down to relieve the stress on the ligament. A metatarsal pad can be often used to reduce the strain on the ligament. This often will help most all cases of plantar plate dysfunction and get rid of that odd experience of a scrunched up sock under the ball of the foot. In the event that those conservative methods don't help, surgical repair of a partial or complete rip of the ligament is normally undertaken.