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This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is an inflammation under the big toe in the ball of the foot. Sesamoids are two small bones in the joint beneath the big toe. These bones connect many ligaments in the foot, which can get irritated or inflamed and cause pain. This condition is a common cause of Metatarsalgia. These painful fractures are common among runners, dancers, and those with occupations that require standing all day.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

Patients typically develop this condition from overusing the tendons. In addition, those who are involved in intensive activities or are on their feet all day are prone to more inflammation. Those at risk for Sesamoiditis are: 

  • Athletes: Athletes or those involved in intensive activities involving the forefoot are more likely to have this injury. For example, this can include ballet dancers, sprinters, and baseball catchers. 
  • High arches: High arched feet and flat feet also contribute to the condition. Those with this bone structure are forced to put more pressure on the ball of their foot. 
  • Tight Footwear: Those who wear tight socks and shoes or wear high heels experience repetitive foot trauma. 

Symptoms of Sesamoiditis

Those who experience this injury tend to endure mild foot aches at first. However, if left untreated, aches develop into more severe pain. 

  • Pain at the ball of the foot: Pain in the ball of the foot begins as a mild ache and slowly develops into throbbing pain. 
  • Swelling and bruising: Patients may notice a red or swollen foot with the initial trauma. 
  • Big toe issues: The big toe may be inflexible and unable to bend. Some experience pain or feel popping in the toe. 

Treating Sesamoiditis

If you believe you have this condition, contact your podiatrist, who can examine the fracture. Depending on the severity of the injury, they will potentially recommend one of the following treatments: 

  • RICE: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can relieve pain and swelling after the injury first takes place. Those involved in activities that aggravate the foot should stop their involvement for the time being. Patients may be advised to ice their foot for 10-15 minutes several times a day to reduce swelling. 
  • Strapping the foot/toe: Your podiatrist may strap or tape your toe to limit movement during the healing process. 
  • Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs: Short-term use of medication such as Ibuprofen or Advil to help with pain and reduce swelling. 
  • Use of customized orthotics: Supportive and padded shoe inserts are recommended to relieve the pressure on the foot. 
  • Surgery: In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove one of two of the sesamoids. 

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