Sesamoiditis is the inflammation of the tendons attached to sesamoids in the foot. Sesamoids are bones connected to the muscles by tendons. The largest sesamoid in the body is the kneecap, and other smaller sesamoids are at the bottom of the foot near the big toe. Sesamoid pain is common among dancers and athletes due you excessive straining and overworking of the tendons. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication and rest.
Fractured sesamoid – This is a crack in the sesamoid bone. It can be an acute fracture caused by trauma to the foot. In this injury, the pain is immediate and the site of the crack is swollen. A chronic sesamoid fracture causes longstanding pain in the ball of the foot. The pain intensifies when active and is relieved when resting.
The condition causes pain that develops gradually under the ball of the foot; bruising or swelling can be noticed too. Another symptom is difficulty in bending or straightening the big toe, and it hurts to move it. Lastly, when you walk, you might get or hear a ‘pop’ sensation.
Risk factors of this condition:
People who overuse their tendons in the front of the foot.
Wearing poorly fitting shoes and high heels leading to the tendon’s inflammation.
Engaging in sports that place pressure on the ball of the foot such as ballet, running, and basketball.
Depending on the degree and severity of the injury, sesamoiditis treatment may include one or more of these non-surgical options:
Taping, padding, or strapping – Place a pad to cushion the shoe in the sesamoid area. You may also tape the toe or strap it to relieve tension.
Immobilization – Avoid placing weight on the foot and wear a cast, permanent or removable.
Physical therapy – During immobilization, engage in physical therapy to strengthen and improve range of motion.
Oral medications – take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain.
Orthotic devices – The use of orthotic devices to balance the pressure placed on the ball of the foot. These are prescribed devices that can be used for a long time.
Steroid injections – These are administered by a podiatrist to reduce pain and inflammation.
Stop whatever activity you suspect is the cause of sesamoiditis and those that put extra pressure on the ball of the foot.
You can opt for comfortable and supportive footwear and avoid poorly fitting shoes or high heels. Go for low-heeled and soft-soled shoes.
A podiatrist may recommend the surgical removal of one or both sesamoid bones, especially if it has a damaging effect on the foot. Also, if the big toe does not re-align itself in a healthy manner surgery can be used to realign it with the foot.
If you have questions about caring for sesamoiditis, reach out to a foot specialist for his/her expert advice. Feel free to contact our office to make an appointment with our podiatrist. Our foot and ankle doctor, Dr. Ejodamen Shobowale, can provide you with the care you need to keep you pain-free on your feet.