Sesamoids are among the more unique bones of the body. They are small bones that are only connected to tendons or embedded in muscle and they are found in only a few places in the human body. In the foot, two tiny sesamoids (think kernel of corn size) are on the bottom of your foot up near the big toe. In this position, the sesamoids provide a way for the tendons to slide smoothly and carry muscle force necessary for pushing off with the big toe and weight-bearing activities such as walking and running. When the tendons surrounding the sesamoids become inflamed or irritated, sesamoiditis is the result.
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists, patients with sesamoiditis complain of pain on the ball of the foot or under the big toe. You may have difficulty bending and straightening your toe. Swelling and bruising in the affected area may also occur. Being on your feet can make the symptoms worse and people with activities that put pressure on the balls of the feet—runners, baseball catchers, ballet dancers—are particularly prone to sesamoiditis.
If these symptoms sound familiar, make an appointment with one of our board certified podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. After conducting a thorough examination, asking questions about your symptoms and confirming the diagnosis of sesamoiditis, the foot doctor will prescribe the right treatment for you. It may include any or all of the following:
- Modifying or discontinuing activities that are aggravating the sesamoids
- Cushioning or padding in your shoes to relieve pressure to the inflamed area
- Anti-inflammatory medications taken orally or by injection to relieve pain and swelling
- Choosing shoes that are low heeled and soft soled