Plantar plate tears could be the reason of forefoot pain, affecting foot function. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound (US) were commonly used for the diagnosis of plantar plate tears. The decision of whether to use MRI or US carried some controversy. Our study aimed to find out the diagnostic accuracy of MRI versus US for plantar plate tears. The database of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), PubMed, EMBASE, and relative orthopedic meetings until May 2016 were searched. Studies involved in the diagnostic detection of MRI or ultrasound for plantar plate tears with surgical criteria as the reference test were included. Data was analyzed by meta-analysis. We compared sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, negative likelihood ratio, and summary receiver operating characteristic (sROC) plot of both MRI and US. Seven studies involving 246 plantar plate tears were included. The MRI showed more diagnostic accuracy than US for the detection of plantar plate tears. The sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio of MRI were 95%, 54%, 2.08, and 0.08, respectively, while the same values for US were 93%, 33%, 1.20, and 0.35, respectively. And the sROC showed more superior diagnostic accuracy than the US. The current result suggests that MRI has better accuracy than US for detection of plantar plate tears.