Chances are if you haven’t had sesamoiditis, you may not have any idea what it is. However, at Superior Foot & Ankle Center we often find that for patients suffering from pain in the ball of the foot, sesamoiditis is the cause.
What are Sesamoids?
Sesamoids are a unique structure in the body. They are tiny bones that are embedded in a tendon and are not connected to other bones. They are only found a few places in the body and your feet are one of them. Two sesamoids are located on the bottom of your foot at the base of the big toe. They act kind of like pulleys in the tendon, enabling it to move more easily and helping the big toe with pushing off.
Too Much Pressure
Due to their location and function in the foot sesamoids are exposed to excessive amounts of pressure and force. They can become over stressed or even injured from activities such as running and other sports, dancing, jobs that require you to be on your feet all day and having high arches or wearing high heels frequently. When the sesamoids become inflamed and irritated that is the condition of sesamoiditis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to pain in the ball of the foot, patients with sesamoiditis may also experience pain at the base of the big toe as well as swelling and bruising in that area. The big toe may be stiff and difficult to bend. Our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley and Dr. Constance Omelas, will want to examine your foot, paying particular attention to the big toe. Digital x-rays (which can be done right in our Long Beach office) and other imaging studies may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
There are a number of treatment options available for sesamoiditis, depending on the extent of the condition, including:
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections to help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation
- Bracing, taping or strapping the toe to relieve pressure and allow healing
- Wearing soft-soled, low-heeled, cushioned footwear.
- Physical therapy