Sesamoiditis: What Is It And Why Do You Have It?

Posted on: 12 August 2016

If you feel pain in your big toe and the ball of your foot, you might have a problem called sesamoiditis. Sesamoiditis is an inflammation in the tendons and bones that support the big toe. A number of things can trigger an inflammation in your foot, including wearing the wrong type of shoes and exercising on hard surfaces. Here's more information about sesamoiditis and what you can do to make it better.

How Does Sesamoiditis Develop?

Your big toe is comprised of several joints, including the large joint that makes up the ball of your foot. Just beneath the base of this large joint are two small bones known as sesamoids. Sesamoids support a large tendon in the ball of your foot that allows you to flex your big toe, as well as absorb shock when you walk, stand, and run. Overextending the big toe, wearing shoes with very high heels, or even running too much on hard surfaces can place stress on the tendon and sesamoid bones and injure them. This is called sesamoiditis.

Sesamoiditis usually happens gradually. You might notice a mild ache or discomfort in your great toe or in the ball of your foot. If you continue to do the activity that caused your inflammation, the achy feeling can turn to an intense pain. Seeking treatment for your sesamoiditis is one of the first steps to overcoming it.

What Can You Do to Treat Your Foot Condition?

If you haven't done so yet, see a podiatrist for care. A podiatrist, or foot doctor, may do several things to diagnose your sesamoiditis, including visually examining your foot and taking X-rays or MRI pictures of it. The treatments prescribed to you may depend on the type of injury you have in your foot.

For example, if you only have an inflamed tendon in your foot, your treatment may include wearing shoes with lower heels and wider toe boxes to avoid placing pressure on your great toe and the ball of your foot. If the change doesn't help, you may need to wear special orthotic cushions in your shoes. Orthotics are custom-fitted insoles designed to support your heels, soles and toes when you walk, run and stand. 

To treat fractures in the sesamoid bones, a podiatrist may place a cast on your foot. The overall treatment time for this step may be anywhere from six to eight weeks. If it's possible, you may want to take some time off from work or school during your treatment to speed up your recovery. But this is something you can discuss with a foot doctor when you see them.

For more information about sesamoiditis, contact a podiatrist today.