Sesamoiditis of the foot

Sesamoiditis is a general description for any irritation of the sesamoid bones. Learn more about symptoms and treatment for sesamoiditis.

What You Need to Know About Sesamoiditis

What is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is a form of tendonitis — tendon inflammation — of the bones and tendons in the ball of your foot. Unlike most bones that connect at joints, the pea-sized sesamoid bones in your foot are wrapped in the tendons on the sides and bottom of your big toe. The bones act like a pulley that helps the tendons and muscles bear weight.

Though small and embedded in the tendon, sesamoid bones can break. Sesamoiditis occurs when the sesamoid bones under your big toe and the tendons around them become inflamed or irritated. The tendons and sesamoid bones in your foot give you leverage and control over your big toe.

Sesamoiditis is common in athletes, such as dancers, baseball catchers, and runners, who regularly put weight on the balls of their feet.

Finding relief for sesamoiditis starts with visiting Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center. Schedule an appointment at one of our Metro Atlanta locations now!

What Causes Sesamoiditis?

Like other forms of tendonitis, sesamoiditis results from overuse. Dancers, baseball catchers, runners, and other people who participate in activities that require repetitive weight transfers on the balls of their feet are most likely to suffer from this condition. People with high arches, flat feet, or bony feet are also at higher risk of developing sesamoiditis.

Sesamoiditis Symptoms

Sesamoiditis is a painful injury. The pain may gradually develop from a dull ache if the tendon is inflamed or suddenly if the bone is fractured.

Sesamoiditis symptoms can include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the forefoot that is persistent

  • Pain that occurs when bending the forefoot or bearing weight

  • Swelling around the big toe

  • Bruising and redness

How is Sesamoiditis Diagnosed?

Getting relief for your sesamoiditis symptoms starts with a visit to Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center. During your appointment, your physician will conduct a complete exam of your foot. They will ask about any history of injury to the toe, when the pain started, and symptoms you have experienced. They will test the mobility of your toe by gently moving it and assess your tenderness by applying light pressure.

To confirm the condition's cause, your physician may suggest imaging tests, such as X-ray, MRI, bone scan, MRI, or CT scan.

Sesamoiditis Treatment

No two sesamoiditis injuries are the same. Some heal without surgery, and some require additional intervention. Your physician will plan the best sesamoiditis treatment option for your condition.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Your physician will likely start with non-surgical methods of treatment and closely monitor your progress.

Non-surgical treatments include:

RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation): The first step is to cease any activities that further irritate the area. Keeping your foot above the level of your heart and applying an ice bag or cold compress to your foot on and off for 20 minutes can reduce pain and swelling.

Immobilization: Your doctor may immobilize your toe by taping it or asking you to wear a short walking boot.

Support: Placing a cushioned pad in your shoe will provide extra support when you walk. You may also reduce walking pain by wearing shoes with soft soles and low heels.

Physical therapy: Your doctor may recommend a series of therapeutic exercises to improve your toe's mobility and your tendon's strength.

Corticosteroid injections: In some cases, your doctor may inject corticosteroid directly into the injured area to reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgical Treatment

Rare cases of severe sesamoiditis that do not heal on their own may require surgery. During a procedure, your surgeon will remove one (not both) of the sesamoid bones via an incision on the bottom of your foot.

People across Georgia rely on Resurgens Orthopaedics to resolve their sesamoiditis symptoms. Schedule your appointment with a physician today.

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